RUSH – Historical Fiction by Jayme Mansfield

Posted by on Dec 15, 2017 | 11 comments

RUSH – Historical Fiction by Jayme Mansfield

RUSH by Jayme Mansfield is a must-read for lovers of historical fiction. Based on the true story of her great-great grandmother in the Oklahoma Land Run of 1893, this is one book that will capture your attention and grip your heart. Enter to win one of two print copies by leaving a blog comment at the end of the interview. This is mandatory! Increase your chances to win by signing onto the Rafflecopter!

 

 

Fabulous Fridays

RUSH   by Jayme Mansfield

Welcome back, Jayme! I thoroughly enjoyed RUSH! Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little about yourself and your family.

Thanks for having me back—I love your author interviews! Well, I’m nearly an empty nester so I can’t use the kids as an excuse any longer for not writing each day (must be the dog!). My youngest son is seventeen and in high school, and the other two boys are in college—one at the University of Colorado in Boulder and the oldest at West Point (Go Army Hockey!). James and I have been married for 27 years with never a dull moment as he qualifies as my fourth big kid. Life is good and I am blessed! Although the clan is a super-duper supporter of my writing, it’s a sad but true fact some of them (I won’t mention names) haven’t read my books. Blasphemous, right? No, it’s merely the humbling reality check that life runs at a faster clip than we’d sometimes like.

RUSH is based on the true story of your great grandmother. Tell us something about your research process.

I grew up hearing the tales of “Oklahoma Grandma”– she was quite a woman in her day. Fortunately, a distant cousin still living in Oklahoma along with my grandmother, spent years collecting and sharing letters and photographs of the family history, copies of the land deed, marriage and death certificates, and best of all, lengthy family narratives with all sorts of tidbits about the lineage and exciting life of Mary Louisa Roberts. Besides having access to actual family history, I read loads of books about the land runs, particularly the 1893 Run—the largest of all the races. My research was topped off with a fascinating trip to Oklahoma to visit the sites and spend hours at the Oklahoma History Center in OK City.

Since I am addicted to family research, I have to ask what you learned about yourself and your family as you created the plot and storyline for Rush.

Great question, and I suppose the answer is best summarized in the script I wrote for the book trailer, especially the opening statement, “There’s something special about the past—it draws us in and reminds us we’re part of it.”  That seems obvious, but when I truly contemplate that thought, I’m struck with such emotion and gratitude for those who persevered and often sacrificed much. It’s humbling to reflect on our lineage—looking into the faces of old photographs and realizing most of those people were simply living life one day at a time—much like us today.  

Tell us about a favorite place you visited during your research for RUSH.

A highlight of my research travels was witnessing the Oklahoma Centennial Land Run Monument in OK City. As one of the world’s largest bronze sculptures, it features 47 heroic figures of land run participants that spans over 365 feet in length. The people and animals are frozen in motion as they race to claim new homesteads. Each portion is one-and-a half-life size so a human would be about nine feet tall and a horse and rider well above twelve feet. The dark bronze sculpture is so realistic, you can almost hear the pounding hooves and shouting voices!

You paint as well as write. Does your artist’s eye aid your writing?

The two worlds continually intersect—the story elements vividly play out in my mind and then the words follow. I recall teaching my language arts students to “paint with words”—I suppose I do the same and it makes the writing experience that much deeper and tangible. I find inspiration is color and texture, and those elements are often expressed in my writing.

What was your greatest roadblock in writing Rush, and how did you overcome it?

My greatest roadblock was completing RUSH in a timely manner (it was a three year book). I began the story while teaching school full time and also running my art studio. I struggled to find the momentum for well-paced and consistent progress. Instead, I wrote in long, hyper-focused bursts on the weekends and vacations. Even though I’m working hard on establishing more consistent and frequent writing times, I recognize there’s something that works for me when a story percolates, takes shape, and develops away from the computer and in the subconscious of my mind.

Rush meme

What are three things that have the most influence on your writing process?

I’m most influenced by personal reflection, obedience to what the Lord is calling me to address through storytelling, and permission to allow myself to be spontaneous and imperfect.

What makes your style of storytelling unique and sets your book apart from other books in the same genre?

My belief in the transformative power of things creative, especially art, is a constant thread in my stories. Also, my heart goes pitter-patter when readers share how they enjoy the vivid storytelling and intimate experience with characters and settings. I think most authors give their hearts to their writing. That’s crucial—especially when the heart, the hurts, the dreams, and hopes are exposed.

Please share a favorite scene from RUSH with us.

Since the book is about the Land Run, here’s a scene that throws us right into the action.

Chapter 20

Mary ~ Claim, September 16, 1893

The noise was as though hell itself had let loose. Yells and hollers raged with snorts and screeching as the reverberating boom launched the line forward—an uncontrollable, unstoppable wave of humanity.

My legs hugged the saddle tightly, giving Sadie full rein. She needed no direction as our course was narrow between the other horses. For now, our only destination was straight ahead.

A cloud of dust lifted like an angry beast behind the front-runners, pouring itself into my eyes and nose. I tried to cover my mouth, refusing to drink its poison. At one point, the veil was so thick, I shut my eyes and simply trusted Sadie’s instinct to follow the others.

She must have despised being caught behind the other horses as much as me. Without my prodding, she surged forward and broke into stride with the foremost riders. To my left was a dapple-grey thoroughbred, its rider crouched over its neck and straddling an English saddle—not a common sight on the plains of the frontier. The horseman’s mouth and nose were covered with what once must have been a white handkerchief. When he looked in my direction, his eyebrows lifted atop his dirt-splattered spectacles. I had to grin in spite of myself. Apparently, I was not the only one surprised at my position in the race. Or perhaps the sophisticated rider was awed at my ability to ride astride and quite unladylike.

As if the wind intended to humble me, a gust caught the brim of my hat and pulled it from atop my head. I tried to right it and secure the loose ribbon under my chin with one hand, but the satin slipped through my fingers. My hat whirled in the air before landing on the ground for a brief moment before pursuing hooves beat it into the ground. My hair that had been bundled and held prisoner beneath the straw hat now tumbled and waved around my face in fiery streams.

Maybe it was the repetitive stride of Sadie’s gallop or the droning of the hooves and wheels cutting down the once virgin prairie grasses. For a moment, it was as though I were dreaming—set free from the memories of the past and the confusion of the present. Running away from or running toward something. Neither seemed to matter.

The English rider veered, pushing his stirrup into Sadie’s rump and jolting me from my solitude. The horse stumbled, and my hand found the saddle horn in time to save me from tumbling to the ground— surely to be trampled by the oncoming crowd. Like a peal of thunder, a wagon pulled by a team of six black horses and moving like a steam engine veered ahead of us. Like an ax laid to wood, I split to the right and the rider to the left.

Sadie was breathing hard, and her withers damp with sweat. “Come on, girl, it can’t be much farther. If I remember right from the map, the spot we want is over that bluff.” We took a sharp right and headed into a tall, grassy section speckled with goldenrod and wax goldenweed. There was so much yellow it looked like the bounty of a king. And as much as my body wanted to rest, there would be no treasure of my own until the two-foot wooden stake, carved with my initials and tied to my saddle, was driven into my claim.

Other riders and wagons zigzagged across the plain now, heading for a specific claim site or wherever they stumbled and could grab a plot. The rock markers placed by the surveying teams in the northeast corner of each site would be almost impossible to find in the mayhem.

It would be easy for several rushers to stake the same piece of land and then have to decide—or fight—to determine who would be the owner. Horrible stories had surfaced from earlier land rushers—especially from the Guthrie and Oklahoma City area—of cheaters, bullies, and even murderers who stole claims from honest people. Tuck and I had read articles, some truthful and others most likely stretched like a rubber band. We also listened to defeated rushers who had returned empty- handed, forlorn that they didn’t get land but happy they were breathing.

Once we were on the rise and the other side was visible, I pulled on the reins, stood in the stirrups, and surveyed the area. The remnants of a trickling creek tiptoed its way through a steep, sandy bank directly below me. On its other side was a pebbled bank dotted with a few sparse trees and bushes. Beyond it was an open area, parched and brown.

Book Blurb:

Mary Louisa Roberts won the race of a lifetime … or so she thought.

In competition with desperate homesteaders, ruthless land seekers, and a sheriff determined to see her fail, Mary rides out on a horse to strike her claim in the Oklahoma Land Rush of 1893. When she finally thrusts her flag into the dirt, 160 acres becomes her own. But with that claim, she risks more than she could ever imagine. A naïve school teacher and young mother abandoned by her hard-drinking, gold-seeking husband—whom she believes to be dead—Mary is faced with letting go of a past riddled with loss, hardship, and reminders that a woman isn’t capable of surviving on her own.

Daniel McKenzie, an illustrative journalist sent on assignment to document the race, has his own past to forget. Bound by a lost love and guilt from a haunting event in the streets of Boston, he wonders whether he will ever know happiness again.

Will Mary’s and Daniel’s stubborn and independent spirits keep them mired in the past? Or will two broken hearts find forgiveness and love in the wild plains of the Midwest?

Jayme H. Mansfield authorAbout the author:

Jayme H. Mansfield is an author, artist, and educator. Her award-winning novel, Chasing the Butterfly, is a book club favorite and Amazon bestseller. RUSH provides a tension-filled, moving tale of a pioneer woman’s determination to survive and is based on the life of Jayme’s great-great grandmother.

Jayme lives in Lakewood, Colorado, where she and her husband have survived raising three hungry, hockey-playing sons. Currently, a very needy Golden Retriever runs the roost. When Jayme isn’t writing, she teaches art to children and adults at her long-time art studio, Piggy Toes.

Connect with Jayme:

Website: www.jaymehmansfield.com

Book Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lbdg6w0c3JA

Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/JaymeHMansfieldAuthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8432600.Jayme_H_Mansfield

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JaymeMansfield @JaymeMansfield

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jaymemansfield/

Book Links:

Books by Jayme Mansfield

Amazon:

Rush: https://www.amazon.com/RUSH-Jayme-Mansfield-ebook/dp/B076G5KG1Z/

Chasing the Butterfly: https://www.amazon.com/Chasing-Butterfly-Jayme-Mansfield-ebook/dp/B01FPPNKT2/

RUSH cover

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11 Comments

  1. I love the blurb!!! My sisters, cousins & I do genealogy. I love the idea of a book based on an ancestor!!! I have seen the land run monument in OKC. It is see inspiring. Thanx for the giveaway!!!

    • Thanks Jennifer! I am very fortunate that my family had letters, marriage certificates, the land deed, etc. Those items made the research even more fun. I appreciate your comments.

  2. Such a wild time in our history – this plot sounds realistic and compelling. Way to go, Jayme!

    • Yes! It was a wild time for sure. Those were some tough folks taking that on! Thank you for sharing your comment.

  3. Can’t wait to read this new book by one of my favorite authors!

    • Ah, thanks Nan! You’ll have to let me know what you think of the story. I’d love to hear what you’re up to — fabulous author!

  4. LOVED this interview and definitely putting this book on my list to read. I’m looking forward to the history in the book. Thanks for introducing us to Jayme and I’m thrilled Jayme joined our sweet Heart”wings” on FaceBook!

    • Thank you! Norma sure knows how to run a blog. I hope you have a chance to read the book in the new year. Merry Christmas!

  5. Very much looking forward to reading this! I loved reading the excerpt and wish it could be in my stocking for Christmas!

    • Just one comment per person, Debbie, but you can Tweet every day, if you’re on Twitter. I have to approve all comments before they post on the blog. Thanks for stopping by! Merry Christmas!

  6. I heard about these, but didn’t think of them so much. The competition must have been fearst. Thanks for this opportunity.

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