By Donna Schlachter
Several years ago, hubby and I visited a museum that offered a virtual Covered Wagon ride. We sat inside a wagon bed and looked ahead of us where the driver and oxen or horses would normally reside.
Then a short film played about the wagon going down over the river bank and across a fat-flowing river. The wagon bed we sat in rocked and rolled according to the view on the video, and about the only thing missing was we didn’t get dunked.
That was a lot of fun, and the experience gave me a whole new insight into the struggles and hardships faced by westward emigrants. Sometimes the stories we read tend to gloss over the deprivations we now take for granted: a hole in the ground for a privy; food cooked over a fire; little privacy; dust, dirt, smoke, and sweat everywhere; lack of medical care; close quarters for months on end.
But if you can’t go to a museum to experience the realities of life on the trail, you can get the next-best thing: read a book. Allow your imagination to run wild—or not, if you prefer a touch more civilization—as you travel alongside the half million or so folks of all ages, classes, and colors who headed westward.
My new release, Kate (“Prairie Rose Collection”), is based on a real-life stagecoach robbery in Deadwood, South Dakota Territory. The hero is one of the bandits, forced into a life of thievery to save his brother’s life. The heroine is running from the brothel where she was raised to avoid being made into a saloon girl following her mother’s death. Leave a comment to enter drawing for a print (US only) or digital copy of Kate.
Donna Schlachter lives in Denver with husband Patrick. As a hybrid author, she writes historical suspense under her own name and contemporary suspense under her alter ego, Leeann Betts. She’s been published more than thirty times in novellas and full-length novels. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Writers on the Rock, Sisters In Crime, Pikes Peak Writers, and Christian Authors Network. She facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes, ghostwrites, edits, and judges writing contests. She loves history and research, and travels extensively for both. www.HiStoryThruTheAges.com; www.Facebook.com/DonnaschlachterAuthor ; www.Twitter.com/DonnaSchlachter.