My Kizzie’s Kisses Journey:
Being a Civil War enthusiast and with my story set between 1862 and 1865, my original plan was to write a Civil War story. With her home set in Salina, Kansas, Kizzie’s family was close to the turmoil of guerilla attacks from the pro-slavery factions in Missouri, not to mention the Lawrence, Kansas massacre that took place in August of 1863. I researched several Kansas cavalry regiments to decide which would fit best with my locality and characters.
Here is what happened as I started to write. I found my Kizzie fleeing from an Indian massacre, an actual event that took place just west of Salina in 1862. Later that year, a band of twenty bushwhackers attacked the town. Through it all, Kizzie discovers her future sweetheart working as a guard on an ox-team freight train traveling the Smoky Hill Trail that stretched from eastern Kansas to Denver, Colorado. As for nearby Fort Riley, their troops were sent not only to fight Civil War battles and repel Missouri Confederates but also to fight Cheyenne war parties protecting their hunting grounds. One thing the fort needed for both efforts was replacement horses for its cavalry. What an interesting and not over done set of events to write about.
I have found that I can research, prepare time lines, develop an outline, but once I start writing, the characters write their own stories. This is what happened with Kizzie and Leander. Instead of Leander joining the Army, he worked at a contract freighter for the Army, passing through hostile Cheyenne and Plains Apache territories on the Smoky Hill and Santa Fe Trails. Several times a year, his travels took him past Kizzie’s home where he stopped to visit while they worked together to keep her mare and his stallion from being requisitioned for the Army’s needs at Fort Riley. Add to the story Kizzie’s colorful family and Charlie, the half-Kaw scout for the freight train, I believe Kizzie and Leander wrote quite a story.
What about all that Kansas cavalry regimental history I researched? Not to worry. Kizzie’s cousin, Otto Atwell, enlisted in the Army. I plan on him having his own book someday. Tales from those regimental histories will fill the pages of his story.
Running from hostile Indians attacking Salina, Kansas, feisty Kizzie Atwell runs into freighter Leander Jones. He is as interested in her as his stallion is in her mare. The two join forces prevent the Fort Riley Army captain from requisitioning their prize horses for the cavalry. Will the bargain they make to save their horses lead to a more romantic bargain sealed with a kiss?
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About Zina Abbott:
Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels.
The author currently lives with her husband in California near the “Gateway to Yosemite.” She is a member of Women Writing the West and American Night Writers Association. She enjoys any kind of history including family history. When she is not piecing together novel plots, she pieces together quilt blocks.
Connect with Zina Abbott:
Amazon Author Page
Sweet Americana Sweethearts: a blog by authors who write in historical settings from 1820-1920
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