More than twenty years ago my mother, a widow in her seventies, surprised a burglar in her home. He stabbed her to death. I found her body. When I decided to write a novel that included murder, I wanted to depict, as honestly as I could, the reality of what happens when a human being takes another person’s life. I drew on my own experience in creating the hero of my historical mystery, A Stranger Here Below: a young sheriff named Gideon Stoltz, who, as a boy, lost his own mother to a murder.
In 1835, Sheriff Gideon Stoltz patrolled the town of Adamant, Pennsylvania, the setting for my historical mystery A Stranger Here Below. In doing research for the novel, I learned about the way people lived in the 1830s and the many changes that were taking place in America during those influential and formative years.