- Annie Oakley
The famous feisty teenager who became America’s darling in the United States and abroad. Growing up and as a young adult, I always considered Annie Oakley to be a goody-two-shoes, sort of cartoonish character. It wasn’t until I viewed the PBS American Experience biography of Annie that I realized how wildly famous she had become and how much she accomplished in her career in a time where women barely got out of the house, much less made a living outshooting most men twice her size and twice her age. I also never knew that she spent countless hours teaching other women how to shoot and protect themselves. In my Annie Oakley series, Annie, accompanied by her “Wonder Horse” Buck, also displays stunning talent as an amateur sleuth, solving crimes in the Wild West Show and abroad.
- Grace Michelle
Myrna Darby was the inspiration for Grace Michelle.
A fictional character who lives in the real world of the Ziegfeld Follies, 1920, and works as an aspiring costume designer. As a young girl, I spent many hours watching old black and white movies, including The Great Ziegfeld (date/director) which made a big impression. I loved all the glamorous costumes, extravagant sets, the comedy, dancing and singing. In college, I took theater classes and directed a one-act play for an independent study final. After college, I volunteered as a community theater stage director. Later in life, I met a woman whose mother had been a Ziegfeld Girl in the 1920s. The inspiration for a murder mystery series was born. Complete with a famous cast of characters, my protagonist Grace Michelle must rise above her introverted designer’s life to take the stage and solve the murder of her famous sister, the star of the show.
- Mackenzie Delgado
Hetty Goldman was the inspiration for Mackenzie Delgado.
A fictional archaeology student in the 1950s who dreams of following in the footsteps of her two (real life) female archaeologist idols Hetty Goldman and Alice Fletcher but finds herself smack dab in the middle of a religious-based series of murders. Mackenzie has to overcome her status as a woman in a male-dominated career and learn to understand the difference between good and evil all done in the name of God in order to solve the crimes. My love of Southwest history and culture came from my father, who dragged his young family across New Mexico and Colorado to every Native American ruin and Spanish pueblo he could find. As a small child, I didn’t appreciate the scorching heat, bumpy dirt roads, and miles of sand and dust, but as an adult, I got it. Studying and learning about cultures of the ancient past can teach us so much about humanity today.