Hello! This is my first attempt at writing a blog. You see I’ve been busy writing three novels. I lived in Chicago all of my life, then in 2004 moved to Hatfield, Wisconsin, where I recently completed my Orphan Train Trilogy: Wildflowers, Bridie’s Daughter and Secrets. They are now all published and available. So I’d like to share information about them with friends, family and YOU!
In short, from 1854 to 1929 the Orphan Trains carried homeless children from New York City to the West and Southwest to find new homes. Towns were notified in advance when an orphan train was coming so those who wanted to adopt or become foster parents could come to see if there was a child that suited them. It was a matter of luck or misfortune where each child ended up. Some children found loving homes; others entered very abusive homes. It is estimated that somewhere between 200,000 - 300,000 children were placed in homes during that period.
Don’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of this significant part of U.S. History. Few people have. That’s one of the reasons why I wrote my books, wanting to share my stories. I talked with my first book reviewer and as she was asking questions, my answer was “Follow the children.” When I first learned how orphans from New York City were placed on trains to be taken west, hopefully to be adopted, the story captivated me. I wanted to know more. That started a major research effort and, as I learned more, thoughts of writing “their” story came to mind.
Though the story centers on the children, it is also about how adopting changed the lives of the adults who took them in, not knowing anything about them or how they would react to decisions made for them. Love and tears flowed both ways.
The trilogy takes place between 1898 and 1901. Most of my story follows five children in their early teens. I have two beautiful daughters who I love dearly, so I guess that is why four of the five children are girls. My daughters gave me the emotional inspiration I transferred into my characters.
So, I hope you will go out, read, and mark my blog and begin to read about the children. I look forward to hearing from you.