In honor of the release of my debut novella, I have invited each of the other authors in the collection to write a post about the inspiration for their story. Today, I’m pleased to share a post from Kathleen E. Kovach, author of Periwinkle in the Park.
When I was first approached to write a story about a girl named after a flower, I had no idea that simple idea would spark into the book it became. I thought first of one of my favorite flower, the daisy. However, when I ran that idea by family members, they turned their noses up at it. And not to smell the flower! I then went with another choice, Periwinkle. Why I didn’t think of it in the first place, I don’t know. Periwinkle is not only a flower, but also my favorite color.
I ended up with a protagonist who is a naturalist from reading The Magnificent Mountain Women: Adventures in the Colorado Rockies. My heroine, Periwinkle and her sister, Sunnie (named after the sunflower,) are very loosely based on Elizabeth and Esther Burnell, sisters who came on the scene after the establishment of the park. Esther would eventually marry Enos Mills, known as “the Father of Rocky Mountain National Park.” But Elizabeth went on to become a nature tour guide once the park had been established.
I knew I wanted to write a story located in Colorado, and the aforementioned book helped me to isolate the area, the protagonist, and her occupation—a nature tour guide in the mountains.
Why Colorado? Why Estes Park? Why Rocky Mountain National Park? The answer lies in the photograph above. My grandparents were snowbirds. They worked in Estes Park in the summer and lived in Mesa, Arizona in the winter. When they were in Colorado, my parents took my sister and me to visit them every chance they could. Estes Park became my second home and the national park was my playground. Grandpa and Grandma, Milo (Mike) and Gwen Wiles, started out working at Tiny Town Cottages, sweet little cabins along the Big Thompson river. They went on to work at several other establishments over the years before they retired to Arizona permanently. I have such fond memories of my grandparents and the mountains—the two are synonymous in my mind. Gathering near the fireplace while Grandpa played his juice harp, sans his teeth. The hummingbirds at my grandmother’s feeder, every single one named. And playing on the Tiny Town grounds with the children who came through on vacation. One such family had me confused. They seemed to be talking my language, but I couldn’t get a handle on the words. Come to find out they were from Australia!
Yes, my inspiration came from as far back as when I was a little girl, falling in love with the Rocky Mountains. Who knew I would someday become a writer and create a character who also loves the mountains and gives tours with her trusty mule by her side. A mule named Daisy. I was determined to get that flower in there one way or another!
Kathleen E. Kovach is a Christian romance author published traditionally through Barbour Publishing, Inc. as well as indie. Having grown up in Colorado, Rocky Mountain National Park was her playground. She lives in northeast Colorado with her husband of over four decades and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. An award-winning author, she presents spiritual truths with a giggle, proving herself as one of God’s peculiar people. Please visit her at www.kathleenekovach.com.