Today Stacey Lee is taking over the blog to talk about this epic YAwestern that I just couldn’t put down! Let’s say hi to Stacey!
Today I want to talk about 3 important elements used in my book!
The beauty of reading historical fiction is that you can get a taste and understanding of a particular period in time without having to ‘study’ it in the academic sense. For me, that often sparks even more interest in the time period, and significant time lost in Google. Here is further information about three important elements I used in my book:
Three of the most important characters in UNDER A PAINTED SKY are the cowboys that Annamae and Sammy encounter while they are on the run. While the heyday of the cowboy came in the later 19th century, cowboys did exist in 1849, and maybe as early as the 1830’s. Most of what we’ve heard about the Old West is exaggerated and sometimes just plain fiction. Far from being the gunslinging, bronco riding mavericks, the ‘cowboy’ was a lowly profession. Most were poorer than dirt, they had hemorrhoids from sitting so long, and their jobs were very dangerous and lonely. Also worth noting, cowboys were a diverse crowd. There were black cowboys, and Mexican cowboys, but probably few, if any Chinese.
Picture of working cowboys, circa 1870’s.
The jade bracelet is a symbol of Sammy’s mother, as well as a device I use to nail in Sammy’s decision to flee west to California. Jade is an important gemstone for the Chinese. Plenty of jade is found in Asia, and Chinese believe that wearing it brings balance, harmony and luck. As the only memento of her mother, the jade bracelet takes on an even more personal meaning for Samantha. Chinese jewelry uses 22 or 24 karat gold, the purest form available, and stones are chosen on the basis of color. The most valuable color is an ‘imperial’ deep green. If you look at Chinese heirloom collections, most contain a piece of jade to be handed down from generation to generation.
Jade earrings handed down from my mother to me and reset, and rare white jade pendant of a peach given to me by my mother in law.
Though there were Chinese living in the United States as early as the 1700’s, the first significant wave of Chinese arrived in 1849, many of them fleeing economic hardship in China, and hoping to make a living in the gold fields of California. When the gold dried out, many of them became railroad laborers. (In fact, it was on the backs of Chinese laborers that the first intercontinental railroad was built.) There probably would not have been many American-born Chinese in the United States when Samantha was born, but it could’ve happened. America coveted the goods that China produced – tea, silk, porcelain, and the two countries did have a trade relationship.
Picture of Chinese immigrants in the 1850’s
Thank you so much for letting me share a bit of my book with you!
Thank you Stacey for joining us today!
Let’s take a look her fantastic book!
About the book:
A powerful story of friendship and sacrifice, for fans of Code Name Verity
Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.
This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship.
Out March 17th 2015
About the Author:
Stacey Lee is a fourth generation Chinese-American whose people came to California during the heydays of the cowboys. She believes she still has a bit of cowboy dust in her soul. A native of southern California, she graduated from UCLA then got her law degree at UC Davis King Hall. After practicing law in the Silicon Valley for several years, she finally took up the pen because she wanted the perks of being able to nap during the day, and it was easier than moving to Spain. She plays classical piano, raises children, and writes YA fiction.
For more information – staceyhlee.com
Page Turners Blog is hosting an Under the Painted Sky giveaway. Each stop will have a tour word that will give you an extra entry to win the grand prize. Our tour stop word is……..
Good luck! And check back Friday where we dedicate the blog to review Under A Painted Sky for Book Friday!
Love Tawney Twin