The American Hotel prior to restoration
I've told you about the home of an artist that inspired my romantic suspense Law Breakers and Love Makers, and the boarded up house in Mission Hills that inspired my dark romance Decisive Moments. But I haven't told you about the weekend trip we made to photograph the restored ghost town of Cerro Gordo, California, the inspiration for my time travel romance, Rising Above. The American Hotel, the bunkhouse, a store and one of the homes built in 1800's are among the fully restored structures.
On our first visit we shared the bunk house with friends and renewed our acquaintance with the owner, the late Jody Stuart. Over dinner she willingly shared her love of the mountaintop silver mine she'd inherited and poured her heart into. She invited us to exploring the abandoned mineshafts and an the abundant assortment of vintage mining equipment and ask questions the next night at dinner.
While I went intending to photograph, the fantastic scenery soon hooked me and as I strolled around the old hotel I began wondering what it had been like for the wives of the men, stranded nine miles up a barren mountainside. How many other women had shared their plight I wondered, and that thought planted the seed for my next novel.
The idea for a hot-air balloon race came later. I decided to write about a misfit Caltrans flagperson who longed for a different life and my heroine Wilda soon filled the pages. Her modern ways set the hotel owner aghast and her unexpected refusal to force her rescuer, the local lawman, to enter into a marriage of convenience with her drove him to distraction.
Rising Above is available online in eBook and Print Book format for your reading enjoyment.
Author's Note: The town of Cerro Gordo is now under new ownership who plan to again make this mountaintop experience available to the public.