I was lucky enough to grow up in Alaska, and like many before me I fell in love with it. The scenery is beautiful, the history is fascinating, and the people have an independent yet friendly attitude. It’s home, but it’s also a great place to write about. I am working on a young adult historical romance series set in the Alaskan gold rush. For me, it’s an ideal setting. The time in history is exciting, and the place is full of drama itself.
My first novel is set in 1898 and the last takes place in 1916. During that era, lots of interesting things were happening in this country; Teddy Roosevelt and other reformers were making life better for common folks, the first aviators were flying in the sky, and people were buying automobiles and telephones for the first time. Of course women were coming into their own in many ways, from the Gibson girl riding bicycles to the suffragettes fighting for the right to vote.
In Alaska, women were a little more liberated because of the Last Frontier attitude. Folks were more interested in people’s abilities than their position in society. Women were hunters, pilots, entrepreneurs and more. The first Alaska Legislature gave women the right to vote in 1912, before the 19th amendment passed nationally in 1920. There were some restrictions, but it was easier for women to lead different lives up here.
There are so many amazing places in Alaska. Within the Gold Rush, there are lots of boomtowns and motherlodes. I chose four to follow the main strikes chronologically. The first novel is set in 1898 in Skagway, the first big boom town during the Klondike strike. The second book is set in Nome in 1900, where the gold in the beach sand and the claim jumpers’ conspiracy made it distinctive. The third book is set in 1906 Fairbanks, now our second biggest town, with its own colorful characters. My last book in the series is set in Kantishna Mining District in 1916, where tension between conservation and mining developed when Mount McKinley National Park was being created next door to some prospectors.
Building stories against this backdrop gives me lots of material to work with. I can set my main characters in the middle of an Alaskan gold rush, and these young women have lots of opportunities to challenge themselves and create the life they want to live. They can find their own path in this great land. Their hearts know the way once they’ve learned how to listen, and Alaska gives them a place to do just that.
What is your favorite time period to write about? What do you enjoy about it?Lynn Lovegreen is an Alaskan author with Prism Book Group who enjoys sharing her passion for Alaska and its history. You can find her on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and www.lynnlovegreen.com.