Pamela Jackson is a former high school English teacher and author of "Confessions of a Teenage Psychic," which was a 2011 Epic Ebook Contest finalist. Her YA novel "Genius Summer" was released in November, 2014, by Vinspire Publishing. It was a finalist in the 2013 San Francisco Writers Contest and received high marks in the 2013 Pacific Northwest Writers Contest. She also has a contemporary romance "Certainly Sensible" inspired by Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" due to be released in 2015. Jackson lives in Carmel, Indiana with her two rescue cats, Molly and Phoebe, and works part time at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park.
Millie Olson would rather imagine life in the nineteenth century than face her 21st century life. She’s overwhelmed by peer and family expectations, since everyone assumes the sixteen-year old valedictorian of a private high school will naturally attend a top college. Millie wants to stay home in Indianapolis, take online courses and volunteer at the history museum. Her grandmother’s not having it.
Gran has a plan to help Millie overcome her fears during a summer visit to Oklahoma. First, Gran encourages Millie to renew her friendship with high school quarterback Zach MacMillan. Millie’s not interested, preferring to spend her time sorting through the antiques in Gran’s attic, where she finds a diary written in 1865 by Synthia Whitfield. Gran’s second ploy, convincing Millie to visit the small nearby college her father attended, works beautifully when she must take the journal to Zach’s professor father for evaluation. Millie admits she needs Zach’s help navigating the campus, and despite her reluctance, a friendship blossoms.
Millie and Synthia have parallel lives, albeit 147 years apart. They both have younger siblings, but orphaned Synthia must find a way to get all three of them from Missouri to join family in Texas. She signs on to travel with a wagon train, and then drives the covered wagon herself! Obstacles occur in Indian Territory, but Synthia is undaunted. She delivers them all safely, and reaching across two centuries, inspires Millie with the confidence she needs to face her future.
Q. Where did you get your inspiration to write this particular story?
A. As a former high school English teacher, writing for and about teens felt natural to me. In 2001 my uncle asked me to write the story of our ancestor Synthia Whitfield Yeager, and the courageous journey she took as a teenager after her parents died. At the time I was teaching full time, and furthermore had never thought about writing a book. After he passed away a few years later and I'd already written a couple of novels, I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, without my uncle, who was the family historian, I couldn't find enough information to flesh out an entire book about Synthia, so I decided to frame her story within a contemporary YA. The result was Millie's story of discovering Synthia's journal and the inspiration she derives from it.
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