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.
Men. Either they want to kill her or they want to love her.
Ava De La Vega lives exactly how she desires. She travels between her gold mines in Nevada and the fanciest hotel in San Francisco, spending her fortune in the city on fine wines, decadent meals, and the company of attractive young men she tosses at dawn.
She loves only three things—gold, silver, and the ever sought-after copper hidden deep in the earth. Her only problem is keeping men around long enough to protect it all.
An ex-miner from the snowy Klondike, Craig Harrison isn’t looking for work–especially a job that could get him killed. His curiosity in Ava’s rugged nature, however, makes it hard to say no to her when she asks if he’d help manage her mines.
When attacks by claim jumpers become a deadly problem rather than just an annoyance, the fight to protect Ava’s land becomes more than they bargained for, and one that could cost them, not only her land but each other.