Welcome, Nancy Oswald, Ruby, and Maude!
I’m happy to announce the arrival of Nancy Oswald’s latest release, Trouble Returns. This book is full of mischief, humor, and, of course, the bond between a girl and her donkey.
What inspired the Nancy Oswald to write her Ruby and Maude Adventure books?
I love Colorado history and had two published historical fiction books set in Colorado before I set out on my journey with Ruby, and her donkey Maude. I’d planned only one book set in the gold mining town of Cripple Creek, Colorado, but when I got to the end of the first draft, the characters would not leave town. I took a deep breath and told myself, I would get them out of town at the end of the second draft. Nope. They wouldn’t leave. This is when I began to think that Ruby and Maude might be staying for a while. I wrote a different ending to Rescue in Poverty Gulch, and began my research for book two.
In April of 1896, in Cripple Creek there were two fires within just a few days of each other that completely gutted the center of this booming gold mining town. This event backgrounds all three of the Ruby and Maude Adventures. The second fire threw the town into a fit of hysteria with talk of firebugs (arsonists) and people threatening to lynch anyone looking suspicious. The second book, Trouble on the Tracks, begins at this point, and it is here Ruby comes upon a contrary stray cat that she names Trouble.
Each book of the Ruby and Maude Adventures can be read independently. However, they have the same central characters: Ruby, Maude, her widowed Pa, and the strict school principal Miss Sternum who Pa decides to marry. Trouble Returns is set after the devastating Cripple Creek fires, during the reconstruction, but also takes the characters to Colorado Springs where Ruby must testify in a trial for her nemesis, Jake Hawker.
This is a long meander to talking about my inspiration for writing these books. Beyond loving the research and actual history of people from the past, this particular setting and combination of characters speaks to my sense of adventure and fun. The two books that preceded the Ruby and Maude Adventures were more serious in nature, and particularly, after writing a historical fiction book set around the events of the Sand Creek Massacre, I wanted to lighten up.
The Ruby and Maude Adventure books have won several awards, and at a ceremony earlier this year for Trouble Returns, I remember the moderator quoting a judge’s comments that were something like “…who wouldn’t love a story about an eleven-year-old girl, her donkey, and a cat…” I certainly have loved writing about them!
I’ve been asked if there are other Ruby and Maude Adventures on the way. Maybe. The characters are alive for me, and hopefully, the reader experiences them in the same way.
About Nancy Oswald:
Nancy Oswald is a retired teacher living on a family ranch where she helps herd cows, goats, chickens, cats, dogs, and one nearly human donkey. She writes mostly MG Colorado set historical fiction, but has also published middle-grade humor and a biography for young readers. Her awards include the Willa Literary Award, Colorado Author’s League Award, two Spur Awards and two CIPA Evvy Awards.