Spoiler alert! Read this after you've read The Roaming Adventurer.
The Roaming Adventurer - Author's Note
Boone Colter is one of those characters that surprised me. I know it sounds strange, since he is an invention of my imagination. His story started with a few brief sentences in Joy for Mourning (Desert Manna Book 2) when he ran around wild as a boy before church. That set my mind wondering what kind of a man the wild, rambunctious boy might become. I also wanted to tie his career into the story of the railroads in Arizona. What a better career for the roaming adventurer than the dangerous, multifaceted job of a surveyor.
Surveyors were critical to the westward expansion of the United States. These brave men survived in surmountable odds at times. Their jobs were as dangerous as I described in this book. The most successful surveyors were experts in a variety of disciplines: math, geometry, hiking, hunting, fishing, botany, mineralogy, geology, and more. I hope you enjoyed this peek into the work of a surveyor.
Like most of my books, I diligently researched what life was like for the careers I chose for my characters. I was very fortunate to find some articles online by a surveyor who described how surveying was conducted in the 1800s. I also found pictures and user manuals for the 1874 Gurley Transit that I described in the book. I tried to make Boone and Jaclyn’s job as realistic as possible.
The routes that they surveyed were the actual surveys conducted for the Santa Fe, Prescott, & Phoenix Railway. Some of the sections of the route required multiple surveys, like the Rock Butte section. There were at least four surveys done of that section alone. Hell Canyon was surveyed early on and ruled out as a viable route until approximately 1909, when they decided to build a bridge.
One of the things that I like to do with characters and plot lines is explore situations different from most of the books that I read in this genre. I like to take characters and put them in situations where they are tested and must confront things about themselves. With Boone, I wondered what he would do if faced with an extreme situation where he could choose a sacrificial, honorable path or take the easy way out. I love that he held true to his commitment regardless of what prompted him to first make it.
As a married woman celebrating 22 years with my husband in 2022, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of commitment. Commitment and faith are what helps us persevere in difficult times. The result? A deeper love and commitment than what we experienced before. This was something I wanted to illustrate in Boone and Jaclyn’s relationship.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed Boone and Jaclyn’s story. Continue the story with James Colter, in The Railroad Magnate (Colter Sons Book 3).