Thursday, 26 May 2022

Celebrate Lit: The Lost Dutchman's Secret

Lost Dutchman IG availableI stepped away from the museum gift shop and started down the dirt street. My friend stepped inside one of the shops – I didn’t see which one, - and I noticed a strange silence. I stopped in my tracks, looking around. The old, refurbished buildings of the 1890’s ghost town stood tall above my head. The wind swept across cacti and the mine shaft pulley that stretched to the sky. I couldn’t see a soul as a tumble weed bounced across the dirt ahead of me. I looked around. For just a moment, I felt entirely transported back in time. I held onto my hat, as the silence wrapped around me, and I know I probably looked just a bit giddy. It felt like a ghost town in every sense of the word. I couldn’t see the cars parked in the parking lot, I couldn’t see anyone in modern dress, I couldn’t hear modern jokes or vernacular. For just a moment, Goldfield, Arizona was a ghost town in 1929 and I, the only visitor.

On the ground research is one of my favorite things when I write Historical Fiction and with The Lost Dutchman’s Secret there could be no exception. That moment in Goldfield became fuel to write about Artie and Theo, when they returned to the town of their birth, by 1929 an abandoned ghost town, on a hunt for answers.

Later the same day, my friend and I began hiking a portion of the Superstition Mountains. We had left the flatland behind us and ascended for some little time. As we left behind evidence of the modern day and hiked, surrounded by rocks and boulders, cacti and scrub bush, our imaginations were fueled. I could see the desert stretch to the base of the majestic mountains, while the jagged peaks reached for the sky. Cacti grew at odd angles, clinging to the smallest cleft of earth in the rock. In my imagination, I could see Dorothy Hodges’ worn out5 The Lost Dutchmans sm shackbelow and could picture her walking along a similar path to myself. To the side, under an out-jutting lump of mountain and not far from a stubborn cactus clinging to life in a crack of rock, seemed to be the perfect spot to tuck away and rest awhile. When Dorothy needed to get away to think and pray, I remembered that spot and that’s where I sent her. I think I could find it again if I returned. There are days that I wish I could go there to think and pray like I had her do.

Moments like these brought the world of The Lost Dutchman’s Secret to life as I tried to write a Rumpelstiltskin inspired murder mystery centered around the Arizona desert in 1929. Every stage of writing is my favorite at the time, I’ll admit, but the research portion for this book became extra special. (My friend, Christianna, contributed to that as well.) I learned to love the Superstition Mountains until they became among my very favorites. I grew fascinated by the history of Goldfield, a town that literally existed only for gold, and when that could no longer be accessed – it perished. There could be so many lessons to learn there. Then, when I sat in front of paper and pen to write, the story blossomed in my head. Dorothy loved those mountains at least as much as I; she grew up with them, knew them, lived in them. Artie’s very birth tied him to Goldfield and became the basis of his family’s entire existence.

Writing The Lost Dutchman’s Secret was an adventure that, despite the challenges I faced, I truly enjoyed and learned from in so much in so many ways.  

Rebekah Jones Author 200x300 200x300

Rebekah Jones is first and foremost a follower of the Living God. She started writing as a little girl, seeking to glorify her King with her books and stories.

Rebekah is an old soul in a young body (she’s not 12 —honest!) While her exact age is classified, her interests are not. Among them are reading a variety of books, singing, playing, and composing music, studying all manner of subjects, nannying an adventurous group of youngsters, and, of course, writing her books, poems, articles, and short stories. She writes a wide range of books from gentle children’s adventures to family sagas to murder mysteries.

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