I’ve gotten this question before, and the answer is yes. So what is the question? “Have I ever used real women as inspiration for my characters?”
Anyone who knows my dad knows he likes to tell stories. One afternoon while visiting my parents, he started telling me this story about the woman who founded a small town that sits between Tonopah and Hawthorne called Mina. Her name was Ferminia Sarras and she was sort of the inspiration of my story.
After 1900 rich discoveries in Tonopah and Goldfield transformed Nevada’s mining landscape. Investors scoured the state, hoping to cash in on the next bonanza, and Fermina’s claims attracted a lot attention. She became a regional celebrity who paved the way for women miners and was also nicknamed Nevada’s Copper Queen because of her talent for finding copper, which wasn’t as easy as gold and silver.
I think the best part of her life story is her travels San Francisco. She spent her whole life not only mining, but traveling back and forth from the desert to the city. Once she would gather large sums of money, she would ride to the city and blow her fortune on fancy hotels, fine dining, and hoards of younger men. As soon the money was gone, she would say,
“I guess I better get back to the desert.”
She’d return to her mines, don her overalls, and take to the hills again and find another mine. For those interested in reading about her, you can HERE.