The third book in the Taylor Family saga is here! I had planned to make Torn Asunder available in early spring, but life and making a living and a fragmented focus kept me from staying on top of things-- especially the printing process. I love this story, but it was difficult to write. You'll learn about it in the author's note at the end of the book. (And wait to read it at the end-- not before).
A traumatic event resurrects haunting memories and long-buried secrets from Julia Taylor's time as an Apache captive 27 years before. She finally admits the shocking truth to her son Jimmy, and it's not what she had previously led everyone to believe. I think readers will be surprised at some of the twists and turns in this book.
I needed a five-year-old boy for an important scene in the book, so I added six years to when the 2nd book Mercy's Face left off, and that set the third story in late 1883. I learned that a number of fascinating events occurred in 1883 which I was able to use in the story:
- Krakatoa, the purported largest volcanic eruption in history occurred on on the other side of the world in August of 1883. The ash in the atmosphere caused the moon to appear blue for a year afterwards, which set a somber tone in several scenes in the book.
- 1883 was the year that the University of Texas in Austin opened its doors, which almost closed rival Texas A.M.C.'s doors when two-thirds of the student body transferred to U.T.
- 1883 was during the height of the fence-cutters' war in Texas, and Brown County, where much of the story takes place, was right in the middle of it. It's estimated that over one million dollars in damage occurred in Brown County alone.
- 1883 was on record as one of the worst droughts of the century, which exacerbated the fence cutters' war when water became scarce for landless cattlemen's herds when fences cut off their access to water.
The research for this story was so interesting. Did you know that before the barbed wire fence came on the scene, many of the cattlemen who raised thousands of cattle didn't even own their own land? The coming of the barbed wire definitely put a major kink in their operations. I don't blame people for wanting to fence and protect their property, but the fencers weren't entirely blameless. Some fenced off land that wasn't even theirs, and others fenced across public roads which denied use of thoroughfares. The war became very heated, and a number of shootings were reported before a compromise was reached. The Handbook of Texas Online was a wonderful source of actual historical events that I used as background for the fictional story.
Occasionally I hear an author or songwriter refer to their "muse" for writing inspiration, but I know who inspires me and prompts me to write. I do realize my writing skills can always improve, but everything that is right and good about my stories I have to give credit to God. I can't tell you the times during the writing process that the story has surprised even me and especially when storylines and events dove-tail together so beautifully. That's not me. That's Him.
I hope you get a chance to read and enjoy Torn Asunder.