Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: Vengeance Road, Retribution Rails
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on September 1st 2015
Genres: 19th Century, Action & Adventure, Farm & Ranch Life, General, Girls & Women, Historical, JUVENILE FICTION, Lifestyles, Love & Romance, United States, Westerns, Young Adult
When Kate Thompson's father is killed by the notorious Red Rose Gang for a mysterious journal that reveals the secret location of a gold mine, the eighteen-year-old disguises herself as a boy and takes to the gritty plains looking for answers and justice. What she finds are devious strangers, dust storms, and a pair of brothers who refuse to quit riding in her shadow. But as Kate gets closer to the secrets about her family, she gets closer to the truth about herself and must decide if there's room for love in a heart so full of hate.In the spirit of True Grit, the cutthroat days of the Wild West come to life for a new generation.
We’re super lucky to be a part of the tour for Vengeance Road – we absolutely adore Erin Bowman and can’t wait to share our thoughts on Vengeance Road! In the meantime keep reading for more about the research Erin did for her story!
Standing Where Kate Stood
I did a lot of research for Vengeance Road from the comfort of my home, but my trip to Arizona took me into the rugged mountains outside Phoenix. It was early June; the same time of the year that the book is set. I was five months pregnant and it was hot. Super, super hot. But it made for great research. What better way to step into my main character Kate’s shoes than to hike in the same elements she travels through on the page?
Notebook in hand, the first place I hit up was Lost Dutchman State Park. This park is located about 45 minutes east of downtown Phoenix, on the western edge of the Superstition Mountains and south of the Salt River. Kate sticks closer to the river during her travels, but seeing as I was pregnant, I chose to stay on well-marked trails and tackle some “day-trip” level hiking.
Below, clockwise from top-left: 1) A view of the Superstitions from a level portion of the trail (about half way between the parking lot and where the real climb begins), 2) Me at an overlook, 3) Back on level ground, returning to the car
I also managed to snap the below panorama about halfway through the descent. I still can’t imagine seeing this view from the saddle in the nineteenth century, hot and sweaty and knowing all too well that there’s nothing around for miles. There were so many times on this trip that I thought about how tough my characters are!
The next day I hopped in the rental and drove into the heart of the Superstitions and the Tonto National Forest. For several miles, I followed a winding, twisty road that cut through boulders and cacti, until the Salt appeared and eventually opened onto Canyon Lake. This lake is the product of damning, and would not have existed in Kate’s day. But it was somewhere along this stretch of river that I imagined Kate stopping for a swim, and so naturally, I had to stop and take notes.
Below: 1) a scenic overlook of the damned Salt River, 2) Canyon Lake recreation area
Another day-trip took me west of Phoenix, to White Tank Mountain Regional Park. Because this area gets very little rain, heavy storms will often cause flash floods. As water races for the plains, it pours and gushes off the rocks, carving out its course (and sometimes even hollowing out “tanks”) in the white granite.
Below, you can see me standing next to one of these “tanks”—the very same that Kate will take a quick clean in during her travels. My visit fell during a dry spell, so the tank was unsurprisingly empty, save for a bit of stagnant water. But looking at the photo, you can imagine how water races down the surrounding rock walls after storms or snowmelt. And I promise you, this “tank” does fill with enough water to allow for shallow bathing, weather permitting. Here’s an example!
So that’s a small sampling of my research trip! I’m so glad I was able to get out to Arizona while drafting this novel. While I love online research and Google Street View, there’s nothing quite like standing in your book’s actual setting and experiencing the sights, sounds, and smells first hand.
Thank you so much for sharing details on the research you did for Vengeance Road Erin!! Watch the blog for our review soon! Make sure you all enter the giveaway to enter your very own copy!
3 winners will receive a finished copy of VENGEANCE ROAD. US Only.
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