by Richard Prosch
In 1979 I was 13 years old, and the Space Age was still all around. The launch of America’s new space shuttle was imminent, and my dad and his friends were excited about the coming of home computers and video tape machines.
My grandpa’s Aunt Rose shared my enthusiasm. When she was 13—in the same year as Jo Harper—the 20th century was just beginning, and technology was beginning to make serious changes to everyday life in the West.
While the German immigrant grown-ups in Nebraska embraced steam powered tractors, then gasoline engines, telephones, electricity and wireless telegraphy, Rose let her imagination soar into the future.
When I was 13, I sat at her table sipping instant coffee and listened to her stories.
She talked about moving pictures projected onto bed sheet view screens in the back of the old mercantile store.
The thrill when she first saw an airplane move through the sky above the Nebraska prairie.
The excitement of listening to music in her farm kitchen—music pulled straight out of the air.
These stories have stayed with me.
And haunted me for the past couple years.
I always hoped there would be another story for the series that began with Waiting for a Comet.
The first four, gathered together in Finding the Sky, capture Jo’s enthusiasm for the wonders of the nature. The following collection, On Solid Ground, are crime and mystery stories—almost like a young Nancy Drew on the range.
The Flight of Lydia Grimm picks up on that enthusiastic sense of life that is so much a part of Jo and leads off a series of four that combines the qualities of the first two.
This time, influenced by Aunt Rose, Jo’s engaged with man-made wonders even as she thwarts the crime or solves the mystery.
I hope you’ll join Jo, Frog, Abby Drake, and their friends and foes alike as they rush to embrace the future, first in The Flight of Lydia Grimm (now available) and coming soon, Last Wytch Park.
After growing up on a Nebraska farm, Richard Prosch worked as a professional writer, artist, and teacher in Wyoming, South Carolina, and Missouri. His western crime fiction captures the fleeting history and lonely frontier stories of his youth where characters aren’t always what they seem, and the windburned landscapes are filled with swift, deadly danger. In 2016, Richard roped the Spur Award for short fiction given by Western Writers of America. Read more at www.RichardProsch.com