I’ve been lucky. Years ago, I wanted to live on a farm, and my husband said “Let’s do it.” When personal computers were introduced, I wanted to know about them and own one, and lucky me, the school where I taught offered a course in Basic. When we bought our first computer, I discovered the writer’s best friend–word processing. Before word processing, I could not write without crossing out most of a typewritten or handwritten page, and progress seemed impossible.
When I wanted to shift from teaching to writing, the first Macintosh computers came out, and I was lucky enough to have the first “desktop publishing” service in my county. And when finally I had the leisure to give a lot of time to a novel, my husband didn’t merely tolerate my commitment, he encouraged it.
My first inspiration for The Girl on the Mountain was the mountain wilderness itself, because West Virginia’s terrain and flora have always challenged and tested those who live here. Second, I was inspired by the history of industry and everyday life in the 19th century, the forerunners of today’s technology and culture. When I read Roy B. Clarkson’s non-fiction account of lumbering in West Virginia, (Tumult on the Mountain, 1964, McClain Printing Co., Parsons, WV), with more than 250 photos of giant trees, loggers, sawmills, trains, and towns, I found the setting for this story. Finally, I was inspired by men and women of previous generations who faced difficulties unknown today. Researching and writing this novel, I felt closer to the lives of grandparents I never knew.