As I was researching The Measure Of Katie Calloway, there was one thing that kept cropping up in the old books I was reading. The wildfire that swept across Michigan in the fall of 1871. It was one of the greatest natural disasters in the history of the United States, and yet I–who had lived in Michigan for 18 years of my adult life–had never heard of it. It was the perfect storm of drought, thousands of acres of dry-as-kindling pine tops left over from the lumber camps, farmers burning off fields, and some believe there was a low-flying comet that added its fiery path as well.
I read true stories of heroism and of great stupidity, desperation and wisdom. I read of the enormous outpouring of compassion that came from people all around the country in the way of food and clothing long before the Red Cross existed.
It wasn’t easy working all these elements together into a book about a marriage of convenience, but of all my books so far, this one is my favorite, and the valiant Ingrid Larsen is my favorite heroine.