Posted by: Helen De Prima | July 1, 2014

Poised to leap

heading out

With excitement and apprehension, I’m ready to launch my novel The High Road Home into the challenging world of self publishing. A special event is pushing me to take the big step: I’m heading back this summer to the Colorado ranch where I spent so much happy time as a teenager.

Focus ranch 1957

Although Focus Ranch resembles Keyhole Ranch in The High Road Home only in approximate location, the memories I collected there came back as vividly as yesterday when I began describing its setting along the Colorado-Wyoming border.

I began writing The High Road Home as a memorial gift of sorts to my aunt Willa Holzheimer who gave up her career as a Navy officer to raise me after my mother died. She was always an adventurous child, once hitching a ride in an open-cockpit plane that landed in her father’s hayfield. My grandparents were frantic until she walked in several hours later unaware she’d caused an uproar. She graduated first in her high school class at age 14 and went on to earn her Master’s in chemistry, phenomenal for a woman in the Twenties. When WWII started, she joined the Navy and became a WAVE, one of the first female Navy officers. When asked where she would like to serve, she specified the West Coast; instead she was sent to Key West where she was assigned to work on submarine fuel research until her discharge.Ensign Holzheimer

Because she never did get to follow her dreams of travel, I gave my protagonist Robbie Tolliver the adventures my aunt never experienced, plus some yearnings of my own. I’ll keep you posted as The High Road Home comes closer to reality.

 

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