Capture the Wandering Heart is the seventh book I wrote. It is set in the Texas Panhandle area of Palo Duro Canyon near present day Amarillo. Area towns of Clarendon and the now extinct boom town of Tascosa are also places that action takes place. It was important to have this book set close to my home. At many book events I was asked why I hadn't written about the panhandle area. I didn't have a good answer for them. I had contemplated writing about the Perryton area, but one day I knew it had to be set in the canyon.
I read an article from the Amarillo newspaper about how the Kiowa and Apache were subdued in the area by the U.S. army killing 1500 horses that were kept by them in the canyon. It was the last of the Trail of Tears saga. I knew I had to know more. In the following months I read three books and many more articles about the area in the 1800s. One book was about the Native Americans, one was about a land developer, and the other was about Charles Goodnight. I loved the research.
This book also included many folk remedies from the time. My sister was reading a book by "The Good Old Days" that was all about home remedies. There was some wild stuff in there. I had to borrow the book and use some of it in story. One remedy was the "Mad Stone". It was used to save people who contracted rabies. (Google it. You will be surprised.)
I found the research so interesting that I almost got bogged down in it. I discovered that in the 1800s, the Congress was considering putting all deaf people in one of the Western states. It would have been called "The Deaf State"! I am so glad that didn't fly.
One of my high school friends live near Palo Duro Canyon, so she shot some pictures for the cover. I love that she did this for me. Terry and I selected the close up of one of the caves. The other picture I posted here is the view of the canyon that everyone thinks of.
In writing this book, I learned a lot about the area and about myself. It was fun to think up inventions for 1877. I liked having a character who thought 'out of the box'. With other characters, I found it difficult to write about spousal abuse and how it was handled back then.
God really gave me a lot of wonderful elements for the story line. I know I can't write without His input. In some ways Capture the Wandering Heart is my favorite writing. I had a lot to think about for the next book in the series, but God had a different direction for me to go with book #8. I will tell you all about it next time.
Elaine Littau, authorSubscribe to The Price of Trust by Email