Friday, July 3, 2015

Picher, Oklahoma: Bringing the Ghosts to Life

My new book, Ghosts of Gannaway, is a sweeping historical ghost tale full of curses, Native-American rights, one of the first feminists, greed, hissable villains, noble heroes, hippies, union strikes, violence, animated statues, haunted museums, pollution and love that transcends death.
But mostly it's the tale of Picher, Oklahoma. Oh, sure, I moved the events just over the borderline to my fictionally created tale of Gannaway, Kansas. And the characters in the book aren't real. But some of them do represent archetypes of the long passed citizens of Picher, Oklahoma.
Very few people reside in Picher now. They can't. Because of the zinc and lead mining boom of the '30's, the town is now a death-trap. In more ways than one. The water's tainted. The air is polluted with poisonous particles lifted off the chat piles. The very few structures still standing have been torn apart by tornadoes. The township were forced to move. Or die. Of course there're still a few stubborn folks who reside there. None too friendly either, I might add. You might just see a few Confederate flags flying high in the dilapidated living quarters, good reason enough not to linger.
But Picher was once one of the most prosperous towns in the Midwest. How do I know? I researched it. It was the most exhausting book I've written yet and I won't be attempting that amount of research again. Not only does the book take place in 1935 but there's a dueling timeline in 1969 with all sorts of characters, plot-lines and ghosts crossing paths. Whew. During the final edit, I nearly had a panic attack when I caught a character in 1969 saying, "That sucks!" Um, no, just wasn't done. 
So...stupidly, I set the tale in two timelines I knew next to nothing about. I researched clothing, slang, lifestyles, food, autos, the effects of the depression. Then I had to find out about mining! Would you like to know about mining? Neither did I until I realized the book called for it! Now that info's stuck in my head! (Don't worry. I detailed only the pertinent information to the story, no boring lesson on mining here!) I found out about hippies and soul hand-shakes and the movements going on. I dug deep into unions and the violent labor strikes of the '30's. I learned about the plight of the Native-Americans in the Midwest going back years and years and years and...
Just too much. But I hope the research paid off. I tried to make my ambitious tale thrilling, chilling, exciting, action-packed, scary, even a little romantic. Let me know if I succeeded!

Act now, tell me later! For a small window of time, Ghosts of Gannaway is available for .99! That's a whole lotta' research and thrills for under a buck: One click away!

2 comments:

  1. This book sounds amazing, and I'm very impressed with all your research. Definitely one for the TBR list.

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  2. And I thought you just knew all that stuff. Fooled me. Great work. All the research paid off.

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