Although characters in the Mountain Women Series are fictional, parts of the best were inspired by women I have known and admired: the women of my extended family, along with friends, colleagues, and neighbors. Many have passed on, but they are remembered with love and appreciation. Like Edna Kelly, an elderly neighbor who introduced me to farm life, and without knowing it, the history and culture of the region. Like Wilda Matlick, farm wife, artist and poet, self-educated and extraordinary. I wish I could have shared these stories with her. I wish I could have shared them with my mother.
Like other books in the Mountain Women Series, the writing of my novella, Christmas with Charlie, was assisted by other important women in my life: June Talbott Dickinson, Michele Moore, and Aimee Louise Ay. All are close friends. I could write a book about the accomplishments of each—all talented, hard-working, faithful, and attuned to what I regard as the important things in life. They’ve been an inspiration, too.
When I wrote The Girl on the Mountain, I had no intentions of writing a series about May Rose and her family. I was urged to continue the story by another great woman, my niece, Jennifer Shaffer. Thank you, Jennifer. If not for your encouragement, the series might not have happened.
Thank you, family; thank you, friends. And thank you, readers, for letting me know my stories have been meaningful to you.