My reading and signing event at the fantastic Fort Vancouver site in Vancouver, Washington, is just three weeks away, Saturday, July 16, starting at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. As mentioned in my March post “Upcoming Book Event at Fort Vancouver,” it was a dream of mine to hold an event at this historic fort for my new historical novel, The Shifting Winds, because the fort plays a significant part in the story. Now that dream is about to happen.
Through my presentation at the fort Visitor Center–a lecture, a slideshow of related photos, and a tour of the fort–I hope to draw people back to the days of my story. The lecture and book signing will be from 2 to 3:30. Afterward, from 4 to 5 I’ll lead attendees on a tour through the fort and highlight some of the places that appear in my book. The bastion in the fort palisade is shown above.
Several scenes in the story take the reader to this amazing spot of British civilization in a wilderness isolated from all that’s familiar to the young American protagonist, reluctant pioneer Jennie Haviland. And one of the major players, Hudson’s Bay Company clerk Alan Radford, works at the fort.
In the early 1840a when the story takes place, Fort Vancouver stands as the center of the British fur trade in the Pacific Northwest, and American settlers have just begun trickling into the area, hoping to gain the land for the United States. For more than 20 years Britain and the United States have jointly occupied the Oregon Country, unable to come to terms on a boundary between them.
Given Fort Vancouver’s significance in Western American history, the fort has been faithfully reconstructed as a living representation of the times, including the home of the commanding officer and his second in command, above, which is furnished much as it would have been when Chief Factor Dr. John McLoughlin lived there and essentially ruled the Oregon Territory. The McLoughlin sitting room is shown below.
Now a National Historic Site maintained by the National Park Service, the fort offers visitors a chance to step back in history and see what life was like in the fort’s heyday.
Chief Factor McLoughlin, shown in the daguerreotype, is one of the real characters portrayed in the book (photo courtesy of National Park Service).
My story takes place during the historic time of rising tension between the two nations over this one land. Within that true story of conflict, a fictional clash develops between two men–the British HBC clerk Alan Radford, and American mountain man Jake Johnston–who vie for protagonist Jennie as their nations vie for Oregon.
To find the fort and center, their website offers maps and directions. The Visitor Center, where my event will be held, is at 1501 East Evergreen Boulevard.
The Visitor Center Bookstore will have copies of The Shifting Winds for sale, as well as copies of my previous book, A Place of Her Own.
My thanks to the National Park Service and the Friends of Fort Vancouver for co-hosting the event. And a special thanks to Mary Rose, Executive Director of the Friends of Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, for making the arrangements.
In these next three weeks I plan to offer a series of posts here on my blog to help set the stage for my story and for this event. Because the posts will delve into the historical setting, I’ll call the new series “The True Shifting Winds.”