News from Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Writing History--The Ultimate trip

My new book, "The Hidden History of Eureka Springs," is about to become a reality. Writing this book has changed me. My world now has color and form way beyond the normal. The reality of every event, every political decision, now comes with an invisible kite tail weighing it down, governing its outcome.
When History Press asked me to write this book, my first thought was, "Who, me?" I write romance or urban fantasy. I like to make things up. This stuff already happened.
I quickly discovered that relating what happened is hardly scratching the surface. My advantage was living in a town that should have never happened. Eureka Springs was an accident. In 1879 there were no maps, no roads, not even a path pointing the way, but there were rumors of a puddle of water, at the base of a hill, that would heal sickness. Once the word was out, they came in droves. 500 in one month, camping around this puddle. 10,000 in a year, all with one thing in common--they were sick, in terrible pain, and without hope.
Thus began the journey that changed my life and the way I see things. I met ordinary people with extraordinary talents who simply appeared when they were most needed. Every time the battle to survive the looked lost, somebody was there, and these people stay with you. I find myself wondering what the wily Claude Fuller, master politician in 1926, would do about this present-day congress . They'd never know what hit them.
And General Powell Clayton, of Civil War fame. He showed up in 1882 determined to make a town out of this mish-mash of shacks and hovels. Within four years he had a railroad, a water works, electricity, and streets with gas lights. No TARP or stimulus for him. Just do it.
And so it went. For each triumph there was a disaster that leveled the town . . . again. The story reads like a bad soap opera.
I even have a mystery man. He was there at the beginning, a charismatic man the citizens followed without question. For two years he led them through the basics of making a town, then disappeared. I can't find one reference to him after 1881. His name was Hugh. I'll find him. He's my hero. Probably the romantic lead in my next book. Maybe we'll do a little time travel.
If you need some excitement in your life, write history. It's the ultimate trip.
You can order the book at or look for it in a few weeks on

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations,Joyce. The Hidden Mystery of Eureka Springs sounds like an interesting read.