Donna Schlachter, Author and Story Teller, visits us this week with her new novel, Calli. Words that paint pictures, pictures that tell stories, and stories that change hearts. Read on for information she learned researching her latest novel and a GIVEAWAY.
I love western movies. The long rides into the sunset. Horses that always do what you ask of them. People who help you out of a tough spot. The bad guy always gets what’s coming to him. And, of course, travel in a covered wagon–comfortable, convenient, and carefree.
What’s that? Wrong!?
But that’s the way movies show them, isn’t it? Rolling along across the flat prairie. Children skipping alongside. Butter churned by the end of the day. Complete dinners prepared over a campfire. Coffee always available.
As any of the hundreds of thousands of westward emigrants could attest—and often did, in their journals, letters home, and books—covered wagons and their journeys weren’t as easy a way to journey as we think.
In researching my recent book, Calli, I discovered the following facts which I found very interesting:
- Although most movies show Conestoga wagons, they were rarely used in the west because they were too heavy to pull up and down mountains. Instead, the small and lighter wagon, often a simple farm or cargo wagon, was used.
- Oxen were used even more often than horses. Oxen are stronger, can pull for more hours a day, and are more durable than horses.
- Clambering into a covered wagon involves getting your body up at least five feet above the ground. Step stools were rare, so unless somebody stood on the bed and hauled you up, your path usually involved the wheel hub, the top rim of the wheel, then gripping the side of the wagon and hoisting your leg over. All in a skirt and several layers of petticoats that reached to your ankles, if you’re a woman.
Giveaway: I will gift one lucky randomly-drawn winner with an ebook copy of Calli. Leave your answer to the following question AND include your email address cleverly disguised in this format: donna AT livebytheword DOT com That way the spammers can’t find you, but we can!
Question: What’s the strangest vehicle or method of conveyance you’ve ridden/driven in. For me, the moto-taxis in Lima Peru.
A hybrid author, Donna writes squeaky clean historical and contemporary suspense. She has been published more than 50 times in books; is a member of several writers groups; facilitates a critique group; teaches writing classes; ghostwrites; edits; and judges in writing contests. She loves history and research, traveling extensively for both.
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