The Driftwood Diaries, my first novel, was published in 2010. Readers asked for more stories of old memoirs and diaries found by bookstore owner, Rosalie Evans, and I oblidged with Under a Klondike Sky in 2012. This historical novel once again demonstrates the resilience of a determined woman when fate sweeps her from Central Oregon to the Yukon Gold Fields in 1898.
“Our overloaded, belching steamboat made landing on October 1, 1898 in Dawson City, Klondike District, Yukon Territory, Canada. Some prospectors came upstream on the Yukon River as we did, and others floated downstream from Lake Bennett after trekking over the pass from Dyea or Skagway. The town’s only dock was already packed with boats of all sizes and for a mile up and down the river dozens of other crafts like ours were tethered to the shore. The captain pulled the Laurie Lee alongside the river bank and the crew tossed out a gangplank to disgorge her passengers. There was so much noise on board with folks trying to keep sight of their baggage, party members, or family, that I almost missed hearing my name being shouted; Barrett was waving madly, trying to get my attention. Such a feeling of relief engulfed me from head to toe, and soon he scooped me from the gangplank, and waded through the deep mud along the beach. Barrett had never allowed himself to publically display affections in Oregon, but here on the banks of the Yukon River, he kissed me soundly on the lips while clutching me close. He said ‘I got the cargo and your big trunks from the Olive May three weeks ago, and your friends told me about your delay in Tanana, but we can talk about that later.’ The crush of a human tide soon pushed us up the beach to a rutted track where a small wagon and horse were tended by a young Indian man. I told Barrett where he would find my bag, and he said, ‘Abigail, this is Moses. He works for me and will stay with you while I go back.’ Moses spoke English very well, and later I learned he had been educated at an Indian school in Oregon. As soon as Barrett returned, we started off through the crowd. The sheer number of men milling around the streets quickly overwhelmed me; coming from months of limited contact with people, to seeing thousands all at once, made me burrow into Barrett’s shoulder. Gold seekers, merchants, shabby panhandlers, brightly dressed women, Indians…what a wild place it was."