Friday, August 14, 2015


By Paty Jager

My favorite thing about writing historical western romance books is indulging my curiosity. I’ve always been interested in history and how people lived and managed with the meager belongings and hardships. It’s what makes writing historical fiction fun.

For my newest release, Claiming A Heart, I was able to venture into an area that has fascinated me since I first heard about it. The underground tunnels of Pendleton, Oregon.

There are similar tunnels in other Pacific Northwest towns and cities but I grew up not far from Pendleton and found the idea of the tunnels interesting but the injustice of their use niggled at my need to bring these things to the forefront.

I joined a tour of the underground tunnels and became fascinated learning about the people who moved about and lived in the tunnels.

The tunnels were made under the boardwalks of the main part of town. The part that housed the banks. The tunnels connected and one ran to the train depot. The original use of the tunnels were to transport large shipments of gold to and from the bank to the railroad. This started when the big gold strikes were happening in the Blue Mountains. 

As the railroad made its way across the continent and there were no longer jobs for the Chinese who had been working on the railroads, they started settling in towns. Pendleton has always been known for being rowdy and a cowboy town. The liquored up cowboys would beat up Chinese they found on the streets. To remain safe, the Chinese started using the tunnels to travel across town from their dwellings to their jobs and some even slept and lived in the tunnels away from the Whites who treated them as with they had a disease.

The tunnels also allowed the prostitutes to travel about without being seen or ridiculed. They used the tunnels to go to their weekly checkups with doctors.

After my tour of the tunnels my mind started whirling with ideas for a book. And that is how Claiming a Heart, Book three of the Halsey Homecoming Trilogy came to be. If you read the book you’ll learn about the things that caught my curiosity and how I used them in the story.

Claiming a Heart

Book three of the Halsey Homecoming historical western romance trilogy that is a sequel to the Halsey Brothers Series.

Callie MacPherson - or Mac - is hiding from the law. When she witnesses a group of lawless thugs beating a newcomer, she drags the innocent man into the underground tunnels of Pendleton. Caring for the man, Callie discovers she hasn't become as hard-hearted as she'd feared.

Donny Kimball's loss of sight didn't blind his heart. It can see far more than his eyes ever could. His heart tells him Callie MacPherson needs him as much as he needs her. If only he can convince her of that before they both get killed.

Author, Paty Jager

Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story. She recently started writing the genre of her heart- Mystery.

You can learn more about Paty at her blog; Writing into the Sunset  
her website; 
Newsletter: Paty’s Prattle:
Twitter  @patyjag.


Caroline Clemmons said...

Paty, I had no idea there were tunnels under Pendleton. What a great setting for a novel. Thanks for sharing with my readers.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Caroline! Yes, there are tunnels under many of the larger cities in the Pacific Northwest. Seattle and Portland have them. And some of the smaller towns like Pendleton. Thanks for having me on your blog!

Shirl said...

Looking forward to reading this newest story as I loved the other ones in this series. Reading and learning history this way is so exciting and fun. Thank you for making it so enjoyable to read by writing entertaining stories for us.

Chad said...

What an engaging story idea!

Paty Jager said...

Hi Shirl! I'm glad you enjoy the books and the history I put in them. I wouldn't be able to write a book if I couldn't impart a little bit of history into them.

Hi Chad! Thanks. I hope people enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.