Oct 29

Accidental Birth of a California Town by Kathryn Albright

IMG_0566_close_5x7color_internetPlease welcome my guest, Kathryn Albright. I lived in San Diego for a few years and visited the town of Julian several times, but  never knew its history-until today.

Thanks for having me here, Anna! It’s always a pleasure to talk about romance and history.

People say “Everything happens for a reason.” I’m not sure about that, but I do know there is a cause and effect to everything. Would that be the same thing? It fascinates me that while a carefully thought-out, strategic decision can effect change, how also, an impulsive act or a moment’s hesitation can change the course of a life, a town, a country…and history.

In my new release, Dance With a Cowboy, that’s what happens to Garrett. He hesitates, and his life and the lives of those he’s closest to, change in a flash. Dance With a Cowboy takes place in Julian, California – a town I’ve renamed Clear Springs for my fictional story. Julian is near and dear to my heart.

After the Civil War, with no job opportunities in Georgia, Mike Julian, his brother and Bailey cousins, struck out for the West. They worked their way across the country hoping to find work on the much talked about railroad coming to San Diego. However, on arrival they found that with northerner Alonzo Horton, the “Father of San Diego” in charge, employment for displaced southerners was difficult. They headed back to Arizona to find work.

On the way they stopped to rest in the mountains sixty miles east of San Diego. They unhitched their animals and let them graze on the thick meadow grass and drink from a nearby stream. While he relaxed, Drue Bailey took in the pleasant view of the ocean to the west and the surrounding mountain peaks. Wild game – deer, quail, turkey, and rabbit—was plentiful. He decided he wasn’t going any further. The others couldn’t convince him otherwise and so they stayed too. They built a cabin and homesteaded, making plans through the winter of what they would grow in the spring. They planted a field of barley on the exact spot where the future town of Julian would stand. Before long, Mike Julian found a nugget of gold in the creek running near the cabin.9780373298037.WWC

Word of the gold got out and soon others arrived. The Julians and Baileys hired a surveyor to plot out a town. Drue named the town Julian in honor of Mike because Mike was considered the handsomest man in town and a favorite of the ladies. Drue also thought ‘Julian’ a more pleasant-sounding name for a town than Bailey. The gold rush in San Diego’s back country lasted ten years before the gold started to peter out.

So, you might say, the course of southern California’s history changed because a man stopped to rest and then refused to budge.

In Dance With a Cowboy— It is rancher Garrett Sheridan’s duty to look out for his brother’s widow and daughter when they return to Clear Springs. However, falling for Kathleen isn’t an option—not with the secrets between them. It would take a Christmas miracle…and he doesn’t believe in miracles anymore.

Dance With a Cowboy is part of the Wild West Christmas anthology by Harlequin Historical, released on October 1, 2014. My next full-length book, The Gunslinger & the Heiress, set in early San Diego, is due out January 1, 2015.

Bio: From her first breath, Kathryn Albright has had a passion for stories that honor the goodness in people. She combines her love of history and her love of a good story to write novels of inspiration, endurance, and hope. Visit her at www.kathrynalbright.com, on Facebook , Twitter, or Goodreads.

To buy her books –

Harlequin / Amazon / Barnes & Noble




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  1. Lana Williams

    Great post, Kathryn! Clear Springs sounds like a great place to live. 🙂 Looking forward to reading your story! Tweeted as well.

    1. Kathryn Albright

      Thanks Lana! And thanks for the tweet! Clear Springs/Julian does have a place in my heart.

  2. Nancy Morse

    Thanks for this post, Kathryn. I love the irony of how Clear Springs came to be.

    1. Kathryn Albright

      Hi Nancy,

      In hindsight there is a lot of irony in history, isn’t there? Thanks for commenting!

  3. Cynthia Woolf

    Interesting post. I didn’t even know that San Diego had a gold rush. Thanks for the new information and a great blog.

    1. Kathryn Albright

      A lot of gold came out the mountains around Julian. The way the mountains formed and the upheaval of the particular kind of rock made it the perfect environment for gold. The largest percentage of gold came out in the first ten years. Thanks for commenting Cynthia!

  4. Sydney

    Wonderful story. Love history. I guess that’s why we read good historical romances.

    1. Kathryn Albright

      Nice to hear from you Sydney. I hope that Outlander kindles a renewed interest in the genre. I just love historical romances and learning as I read them.

  5. Jacqueline Seewald

    Congrats, Kathryn,

    Harlequin always publishes quality romance. This sounds like a great read. Best wishes.

  6. Kathryn Albright

    Hi Jacqueline. Thanks! I do love Harlequin’s covers too (as well as what’s inside!)

  7. Phyllis Dolan

    I have lived in Southern California my whole life and didn’t know that bit of history about Julian! I have toured the gold mines, eaten the apples, and been charmed by Julian’s appeal but never realized it began as a detour in someone’s life. I have read your other books but am looking forward to this one the most. Julian, country, romance and Christmas – what better present for the holidays could there be? Keep writing!

    1. Kathryn Albright

      Hi Phyllis!

      Isn’t Julian a beautiful little village! When I was young, I loved going up there to sled when it snowed. It is the perfect place to set a story (IMO). Thanks so much for commenting!

  8. Melissa Keir

    I love that you are using a real place as a fictional setting in your stories. I’m sure there’s so much history to draw from! All the best!

    1. Kathryn Albright

      Hi Melissa!

      Thanks for commenting! You’re right. I am definitely inspired to write a story when I learn some of the history of a place and the people who lived.

  9. Jill Hughey

    Sounds like a lovely setting for a story. How brave people were back then, to relax in a meadow and decide to build a cabin and stay.

    1. Kathryn Albright

      Hi Jill,

      I guess it helped that the winters in Julian are fairly mild. When the group stopped to rest, they noted that the Native Americans in the area had recently left, heading to lower levels for the winter and leaving their skin huts vacant. Thanks for commenting!

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