Research Wednesday: History of Calaveras County

I’ve been so busy with editing A Flight of Marewings that I haven’t had much time for other projects. Now it’s time for me to turn my attention back to Rosa and write her second book, Witch Hunt. As usually happens when I’m in the brainstorming stage for a book, I’m researching all sorts of topics related to the plot and sifting through them for ideas.

Well, this past weekend I stumbled onto an idea purely by accident. I took a Halloween tour at the historical Rengstorff House, built in the 1800s, and I just loved seeing all of the old details, from the architecture to the furniture, to the story of the house itself. That made me wonder if there are similar old houses still preserved in Calaveras County, and I took to the internet to investigate. I’ve done some research into Calaveras before for Small Town Witch, both the current towns and its development during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s, but there’s always more to learn and I never know what may spark inspiration.

I found a few houses on the list of historical sites in Calaveras, and the one that intrigued me the most was the Thorn House in San Andreas. Apparently, this house stood out as a veritable mansion in the frontier town when Sheriff Thorn built it for his wife, and many people questioned where he’d gotten the money. In fact, Ben Thorn was suspected if withholding tax money for years, but he maintained popularity as a sheriff because of his heroic efforts in capturing notorious outlaws like Black Bart. I was even able to read an entire chapter detailing the sheriff’s exploits in the book Badge and Buckshot: Lawlessness in Old California  by John Boessenecker.

I wish that I were able to go and visit the Thorn House in order to see more details about the property, but it seems that the house is a private residence. I still need to make another trip out to Calaveras to visit more places, especially some of the ghost towns. I’m thinking that the ghost town will play a larger role in the second book, especially the ghost of a certain sheriff with a mysterious past and unknown intentions.

I’m also experimenting with something a little different for this story. I know that many people are eager to read the sequel right away, but even if I finish the first draft quickly, editing it into a publishable form usually takes me months of work. But perhaps you’d like to read the first draft for free while I’m writing it.

Since I’m writing this book during NaNoWriMo once again (and hoping to write at the pace of a chapter a day), I am trying out posting it on Wattpad. This will be the rough first draft, so I make no guarantees of quality or continuity, and once the story is completed I will take it down for massive editing. But if you’d like a glimpse into my creative process, and if you’d like some idea of what happens to Rosa next after her mother takes off, you’re welcome to read along. The project starts November 1st and goes until it’s finished.


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.