Trail of the Hiawatha (Part 2)
by Angela Breidenbach
Riding the biking route, Trail of the Hiawatha, can be a deeply emotional experience. From the views at one of the highest bike paths in the world to the unfolding story of the challenges people went through at the turn of the 20th century, I literally and emotionally travelled the peaks and valleys. Some of the roughest mining and train towns existed on the Idaho/Montana border. People had to be incredibly hardy and resilient. The winter snows could be 14 feet deep and the regular summer heat could range over 140 degrees difference from the mid-winter weather.
But people lived, loved and worked in the extreme climate. They battled working conditions for the chance to change their lives and economic future, some to bring family over from the old country. With over 70 countries represented, discrimination and predjudice ran rampant. Many spoke up to 6 languages while most spoke only one or two. In the story “Fanned Embers,” I had the opportunity to explore that real history by drawing on a true historical murder of a foreman named Hayes. His Montenegrin crew retaliated against him because he’d killed a Montenegrin while breaking up a fight. But no wife or family are mentioned, nor did I find them anywhere else.
Juliana Hayes became that fictional wife, trapped in a life she didn’t want, with a deep-seated prejudice against all Montenegrins for the loss of her husband. I pitted her against the new foreman, Lukas Filips, who spoke several languages. And then, as she begins to soften, the largest fire in US history breaks out as the backdrop for her journey through her own fiery emotions. Edwardian era, Old West at the brink of destruction, Juliana and Lukas must survive both the raging 3,000,000 acre fire and their own raging emotions. Edward Polaski (the real man who invented the tool fireman still use today) has a cameo.
Here we are 107 years later and Montana is on fire again. Though Barbour Books had no idea that the August 1, 2017 release date would coincide with history repeating itself. I ask you to pray for the people in Montana, and the many other states battling wild fires.
Angela Breidenbach lives in Missoula, Montana. She’s a best-selling author of romance through the ages and host of two radio shows — Historically Speaking on Along Came a Writer Network (Blogtalk Radio) and Lit Up!. Angela is the Christian Author Network’s president. Always family-friendly — Always good for your heart. http://www.AngelaBreidenbach.com
All Social Media: @AngBreidenbach