|Photo: Missouri State Parks, Katy Trail|
By Lora Young
My husband and I love to ride our tadpole recumbents on the Katy Trail in Missouri—the longest rails-to-trails in the nation. The trail head in New Franklin tells the story of Joseph Kinney, a steamship company owner, who had built a thriving business transporting goods and passengers up and down the Missouri River.
When the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railway (nicknamed The Katy) came through in the early 1870s, he saw it as a threat to his business and his way of life. He wrote scathing editorials to area newspapers decrying the evils of the railroads.
I saw in this…a story. A steamship owner’s strong-willed daughter falling in love with a railroad man. Voila! (Still not quite sure how it turned into a mystery. All my stories seem to do that.)
The hardest part of writing this story was the research. The MK&T Railroad no longer exists. Missouri Pacific (now part of Union Pacific) purchased the MK&T in the late 1980s. Nostalgia has kept more recent history alive, but there aren’t many stories from the late 1800s.
Sometimes when I write, a character will surprise me. In this story, it was Roy Willis, the station master. I had great fun coming up with new ways for him to irritate Endy (the hero). And watching Endy deal with Roy’s annoying chatter…loved it!
One of the other surprises for me was that Delia achieved one of her dreams in spite of my best efforts to disappoint her. I had every intention of her never becoming a teacher, but she was one determined gal. The way she accomplished it turned out perfectly!
This story was a delight to write. I certainly hope readers will enjoy it too!
Book Description: Delia Eastman returns home from teachers’ college with two goals: find a teaching position and sidestep her mother’s insistence on finding her a husband. But employers don’t care for women who are smarter than they. Neither do suitors. As she struggles to find her place, she discovers her sleepy riverboat town has turned into a powder-keg of rivalry between the steamships and the railroads.
Increasingly violent vandalism on the railroad brings her face-to-face with Endy Webster, a handsome trainmaster whose investigation into the crimes leads him to the door of a prominent steamship owner—Delia’s father.
As Delia tries to clear her father’s name, she keeps tangling with Endy. He’s intelligent. He’s charming. And he’s guarding secrets. Thinking he might know more than he’s telling, Delia reluctantly agrees to collaborate with him to solve the crimes. With the vandalism becoming deadly, they’ll need every scrap of intelligence and logic to stay alive. Working together may not be their first choice, but it might be their last.
Malicious Mischief is available in print and e-book formats on Amazon.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Lora Young has never lived outside the state of Missouri. She grew up reading the Little House books and Trixie Belden mysteries, so it makes sense that her first novel would be an historical mystery set in Missouri.
Lora lives in rural Platte County with her husband, four cats, and the constant interruption of her children and grandchildren. She enjoys riding her tadpole recumbent, ballroom dancing, and making stuff up.
She is a member of the Kansas City West chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers.