Brenda Turner Books

Cimarron Sunrise

    Inspiration for a story can start with the smallest thought.  When I was growing up I didn't have electronics to stay busy when I was stuck in the car with my parents or waiting for an appointment.  Instead,  I'd entertain myself by observing people, places, and interactions of others.  Before long I'd find myself spinning a tale in my head, creating the back story to what I was observing.  

    Driving by a local ranch on my way to school every day was one of my inspirations for Cimarron Sunrise.  As the longhorn steer would graze on the rich grass and drink from a zig-zagging creek, I'd picture in my mind what life would have been like in the same setting in 1889.  

    Further down the road I'd pass another creek, this one much larger than the one on the ranch.  During times of heavy rain it would fill close to the edge.  That creek was my visual for the scene in "The Crossing" chapter.

    Can't you just picture a planked bridge crossing it?  Imagine it overflowing its banks after heavy spring rains!

    This is the home of Jesse James when he was growing up.  It's easy to imagine him as a young boy living on a farm with Maddy's Ma as a neighbor.  Of course, the part about Ma in "An Unlikely Friendship" is entirely fictional.  Below are a couple of  other  pictures from the Jesse James Farm in Kearney, Missouri.   The farm is well worth taking a time for a tour.  Our guide, Linda, was a wealth of information.  You even get to walk on floor planks that Jesse himself once walked on, which is pretty cool!

           Jesse James original grave

 Well and Pump used by Jesse's Family

    One of the neatest parts of writing historical fiction is to research real people, events, and places.  I recently had the opportunity to tour the 1859 Jail and Marshal's Home in Independence, Missouri.  This is the jail I refer to in the chapter "Bisuits and Bushwhackers." 

    Believe it or not, the Marshal and his family lived in a home that was attached to the actual jail!  How would you like to share your bedroom wall at home with a prisoner on the other side?  The Marshal's  wife would make extra money by fixing meals for the prisoners.  
    The outlaw brother of Jesse James, Frank James, spent several months in this very jail.  He was treated as a hero.


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