Why Mining For Justice?

I have more story ideas banging around in my head than I’ll ever find time to explore. My files about possible historic sites and museums to explore in a Chloe Ellefson mystery are ever-growing. So why did Pendarvis Historic Site in Mineral Point, WI, rise to the top of the list?

Pendarvis is a collection of historic structures that date back to pre-statehood days. It was the first historic site I visited after moving to Wisconsin to work at sister-site Old World Wisconsin, and I remember enjoying the tour immensely.

The area has a fascinating history I wanted to learn more about—always a plus when plunging into a year-plus-long project.  Miners arrived in the 1820s to dig lead, most of them looking for quick hauls before moving on or heading back home. In the next decade miners from Cornwall arrived. Many brought their families, and the Cornish played a major role in turning a hardscrabble mining frontier into a community.

As I began conceptualizing the 8th book in the series, I thought first about where Chloe and Roelke, the main characters, were emotionally at the end of the 7th book, A Memory of Muskets. Where did I want them to go next on their emotional journey? What site and plot would reflect their personal challenges? As I played around with story ideas to weave together in the new book, I started seeing powerful connections. (I love it when that happens.)

Then there’s Mineral Point itself—it’s charming. Many readers have suggested that Chloe visit. I know Chloe and Roelke fans will enjoy exploring not just Pendarvis, but the area’s museums, architecture, art galleries, and restaurants.

I’m excited about Mining for Justice! We’ve got some special launch activities planned for the fall. I’ll share more details soon, and you can always find more information on my website. Stay tuned!

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8 Responses to “Why Mining For Justice?”

  1. Ruth Says:

    Can’t wait!!!

  2. Pat Says:

    As a person who was born and raised in Wisconsin, and loves history and reading, this series is near and dear to my heart. I have never been to Mineral Point and always wondered about the museum there. This new book may be just enough to get me off the couch and finally get there.

    Speaking of Wisconsin, I know you wrote a wonderful story about Laura Ingalls, and although there wasn’t much about Pepin, it was a great read, and I was thrilled to run across it in the shop in Burr Oak last year. Somehow I had missed its release. I digress. Being a Laura fan, I would like to see Pepin featured, maybe in a combo story with the nearby “Caddie Woodlawn” location. It could maybe be a living in the big woods re-enactment story. When my three girls were small, we went through a pioneer period when we delved deeply into various aspects of the prairie pioneer, food ways, novels, diaries, clothing, cabin living, etc. American Girl dolls weren’t on the scene yet, but when they came out we managed to get to know Kirsten on a personal basis, despite the fact that youngest daughter Cindy was already 12. The whole pioneer life thing kind of culminated for me when I was able to volunteer as a docent for a year at Naper Settlement. A long time dream come true!! I am now almost seventy, but I still have my dress and hoopskirt! Keep writing about Chloe and Roelke!

    • Kathleen Ernst Says:

      Hi Pat – thanks for sharing your thoughts! If you can make it to Mineral Point, I recommend it. I also appreciate your suggestions for future books. We obviously have a lot in common. I began thinking about early white settlement in the Midwest as a child in Maryland, reading Little House in the Big Woods. At that time Wisconsin was a faraway place–little did I know I’d end up moving here one day so I could go to work at Old World Wisconsin. I’m chagrined to admit that I have not visited Naper Settlement, but it’s on my list!

  3. Alice Lundstrom Says:

    Having Cornish roots and even a Cornish tartan shawl I can’t wait to read the new book. Our book club read the first series book and loved it. Might be time to put this new one on the reading schedule.

  4. Donamae Clausen Kutska Says:

    I’ve lived in Wisconsin my whole life. Green bay has an interesting place heritage hill. With enactmens and old buildings. Can’t wait for your book !

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