Wednesday, October 16, 2013


By Guest Author Paisley Kirkpatrick

Have you ever wondered where your story ideas come from? It is the one question people ask me the most. Until a very strange and quite remarkable occurrence happened while I wrote FOREVER AFTER, I had no idea I might have someone living in my head helping me.

One of my great, great grandparents might just be the answer. Charles Kirkpatrick was a doctor who left Illinois and traveled across country on a wagon train in 1849. He kept a journal which is now kept under glass in the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley, in California. I can understand why it's considered five-star quality. He was quite literate and wrote a lot of what he saw and what happened around him. I am lucky enough to have a copy of the journal and was able to share a lot of what he put on the pages in my second story, Marriage Bargain. At the time I felt blessed to have help from one of my ancestors.

His wife, Mary Kirkpatrick, wrote seven stories under the name of Mary Kirke. She is supposedly the first woman to have stories published in a magazine. When I finally settled down and read through one of the five 3-inch thick binders of genealogy my Mother assembled, I was about halfway through writing FOREVER AFTER. My heroine traveled to San Francisco on a ship without luggage and she suffered greatly from nausea. 

When I read my great, great grandmother's first story published in a magazine, I was caught off guard when I found two of her sentences were written verbatim to mine. Also, the scene was under the same circumstances as mine -- on a ship to San Francisco, no luggage, and constantly plagued with nausea. Eerie, spooky, unbelievable - these were the words running through my head. How could this have happen? In all fairness, I couldn't leave my story similar to hers so I ultimately did change the scene somewhat so we can 
both take credit for what we've written.

At my next Sacramento Valley Rose chapter meeting our guest speaker spoke about past lives. I told her what had happened to me and asked if I could have inherited my great, great grandmother's memories. She agreed it was possible, but thought it was more than likely I inherited Mary Kirke.

On one other note, when I read the last two sentences of my great, great grandmother's story I cried and I still get emotional telling you about them. She was standing on the wharf at San Francisco Harbor. She had just arrived after sailing from the east coast to San Francisco and was waiting for the man she was to marry to meet her. She felt his hand on her shoulder and knew she was home. I have tears telling it again.

I have no idea how her words got in my head, but if it is true and she is living in there giving me plots, I am not complaining. I have no idea where my ideas come from or why this time period and the gold country has always been important to me, but it's a gift and I intend to always nurture it.   


Abandoned by her sisters, her father in jail, Marinda Benjamin takes on the care of her ailing mother the best way possible -- working for an unscrupulous man with the power to crush her.  Forced to spy on a decent man, Marinda's honesty saves her virtue and revenge restores her self-respect.

When Ethan Braddock discovers his brother's poker pot cleaning his private office, he jumps to the right conclusion -- she's there to spy for his nemesis. Ethan can't help but find her irresistible. In spite of what his heart tells him, his brain reserves judgment on her character. Until he unravels the mystery of her connection to Danforth, trust is the one thing he can't allow himself. For that, she'll have to prove herself.


Dr. Braddock's office held an air of authority. Bookshelves crammed with medical volumes covered two walls while the massive oak desk was positioned to take full advantage of a rock fireplace. Two brown, cushioned armchairs placed invitingly near the bookshelves drew her attention. She loved to read. More than six months had passed since she'd enjoyed the luxury. Curling up in one of those chairs with a good book would be heaven.

The files Danforth mentioned must be stored in the row of locked drawers running across the bottom shelf of the bookcase. She knelt and fingered one of the unique locks. How would she ever get the information? He had each drawer secured separately.

Disturbed by what she'd found, she stood and observed a couple of country farm prints positioned above the mantel. A framed copy of the doctor's medical license hung between the two windows on the opposite side of the room. His name sounded quite proper -- Ethan Andrew Braddock. It suits him.

Running the duster over the furniture and emptying the trash didn't take long. Marinda grabbed the shovel from its stand on the hearth and began scooping ashes from the fireplace into a bucket. Warm sunshine poured through the two large windows. She slipped the latch and threw one windowpane open, letting in fresh air and the melodic sounds of birds chirping in the nearby cornfield. Contentment stole over her as she worked.

Done, she picked up the bucket and stood back admiring her topnotch job. Now everything in the room appeared clean and ready for the doctor's return.

The office door slammed behind her.

"What the hell?"

She spun at the raised voice. Her heart plummeted to the pit of her stomach. Anger radiated from Ethan Braddock's penetrating gaze. His tidy brown hair curled in gentle waves, giving him a boyish look, but the set to his jaw soon banished that idea. Dr. Braddock was nobody's fool. His height placed her at an immediate disadvantage, and for a reason she didn't want to analyze, she did not wish to be at a disadvantage with the formidable doctor.

"This is my private office. Who let you in here?"

The bucket slipped from her hand, hitting against the corner of the desk. Ashes fluttered into the air, settling across the top of the doctor's orderly desk.

She clasped her hands behind her back, staring speechless at the mess.


Desert Breeze

Author Paisley Kirkpatrick
Discovering that riding off into the sunset was a lot easier on a computer screen than in real life, not to mention those saddle burns, Paisley Kirkpatrick began her career as an author. Hiding in the Sierra Mountain Range of California with her husband of 44 years, Paisley spends her time roping in the cowpoke of her dreams, or can be found wandering the streets of California's gold rush towns to find inspiration for her books. She might not have found gold in them there hills, but she did find a love for the old west and the prickling of the stories that make up her Paradise Pines series.

Drawing on family history and a healthy imagination, Paisley kicks off her wild ride on a dusty trail with NIGHT ANGEL. Don't worry your little heads, though. It's the first of many adventures in a time when men were men, and women knew how to put them in their place. If you love your cowboys rugged with a sensitive side, and your heroines with enough fire to light up the western sky, you've got a home waiting in Paradise Pines. Just be sure to bring a six-shooter because the Lady Paisley aims for the heart, and when she fires, she never misses.

Thanks for stopping by!


Caroline Clemmons said...

Thanks for sharing with us today, Paisley. Wishing you continued success.

Caroline Clemmons said...

How cool to have a great great grandmother giving you inspiration! I'd say you were predestined to be a writer! Loved hearing from you!

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Good morning, Caroline. Thank you for letting me visit with you today and tell my story. Always appreciate your support. :)

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

Hi Karen, My mother said the same thing about me inheriting the writing from my ancestors. I wish she had lived long enough to see that what she said was true. Thanks for coming by today and commenting. :)