The Christmas Cactus sprang into being and kind of surprised me. I was all geared up to begin work on the second book in what I hope to be a three-book Halstad House series. Then, literally out of nowhere, the story line of a feisty young woman traveling to Washington Territory in the 1870s popped into my mind.
I’ve always held a fascination for life in the 1800s, particularly in the west. As a child, I loved reading books and watching movies about the era. All but one of my grandparents were born in the late 1800s (two of them in the 1880s) and I loved hearing stories about their experiences. Granted, everyday life didn’t have the conveniences we have now. One of my grandmothers said that of all the inventions she lived to see in her almost one-hundred year life, the electric washing machine was at the top of her favorites’ list. Since she was a mother of seven children, that’s totally understandable. Can you imagine laundry day on the farm? Washing clothes, bedding, towels, etc. for a family of nine using a washtub and scrub board? It took fortitude.
But beyond the many physical challenges, there was also the simplicity of family pulling together—being together. Kids doing homework by the light of an oil lamp. Mamas wiping runny noses. Dads giving piggyback rides. Games of tag. Tiny hands learning to cut out gingerbread men. Lullabies. Bedtime prayers.
In The Christmas Cactus, I wanted to portray those aspects of life in 1873. Challenges, yes. Triumphs, laughter, and tears, certainly. But most of all, when all is said and done, I wanted to portray the making of a family.
I’m so excited to announce the release of my newest historical fiction novel, The Christmas Cactus, available in paperback, hardback, and on Kindle. A huge thank you to all involved in making this a reality. You are amazing!
Photography and Book Trailer by Anja Johnson