Our interview today is with three characters from Shanna Hatfield’s new historical series. Set in the western town of Pendleton, Oregon, the Pendleton Petticoats series highlights brave, determined women. During the early 1900s, Pendleton was a modern, progressive town, despite its Wild West reputation. In addition to 18 bordellos and 32 saloons, Pendleton offered residents such cultured experiences as an opera house, a French restaurant, and a tearoom. It was the second city in Oregon to have paved streets and boasted a telephone office as well as wonders like indoor plumbing to those who could afford the services. The women in Pendleton Petticoats are from diverse backgrounds but find unity in following their hearts and chasing their dreams.
Aundy, Caterina and Ilsa join us today to talk about life in Pendleton.
Welcome to you three lovely ladies. Tell us a little about how you each came to be in Pendleton.
Aundy: I came to Pendleton as a mail-order bride for a kind-hearted farmer named Erik Erikson. We wed as soon as I stepped off the train, but had a wagon wreck on the way home. Erik died three days later, leaving me, a city girl, his farm and everything he owned.
Caterina: Growing up in New York, I never expected to live so far out west. When a mafia boss decided I would marry him, my family helped me escape and I got off the train here. Aundy was the second person I met and we’ve been friends ever since.
Ilsa: (Giggles) You forgot to mention the first person you met was your very good-looking deputy sheriff husband, Kade. You literally ran into him when you turned a corner and smacked into his chest when you first arrived in town.
Caterina: (Glaring at Ilsa) So I did. Thank you for sharing that with everyone. Let’s talk about why you came to town.
Ilsa: Because Aundy, she’s my sister, and Garrett, that’s Aundy’s husband, rescued me from our horrid aunt in Chicago who was holding me prisoner and brought me here.
What does a typical day entail for each of you?
Aundy: Garrett and I live on the place I inherited from Erik. Our day starts early in the morning with chores. I still don’t like gathering the eggs because our rooster is a nasty little fellow, but I enjoy everything else on the farm. My favorite thing is riding my horse Bell with Garrett, or sitting on the hill above the pasture watching our sheep. Thanks to our Chinese cook, I don’t have to spend a lot of time in the house.
Caterina: Kade and I live just outside of town with his behemoth dog, Ike. We ride into town together in the morning. He goes to work at the sheriff’s office and I go to my restaurant where I create Italian food that reminds me of my family.
Aundy: She’s an amazing cook. You really should drop by sometime for dinner. Her ravioli is divine.
Ilsa: And you have to try one of her pastries. In fact, if I don’t stop eating there so often, I’m going to have to let the seams out of my dresses.
Caterina: You could always learn how to cook…
Ilsa: (Shakes her head) I’d rather sew.
Aundy: (Smiles sweetly and bats her eyelashes at Ilsa) We all know she eats at the restaurant so she can ogle Caterina’s handsome brother.
Ilsa: I don’t ogle Tony! (Huffs indignantly) Returning to the question, I have a dress shop just down the street from Caterina’s restaurant. I design and create clothing, primarily for women. I used to sew for the most elite in Chicago’s social circles, but I’m excited to bring high fashion to the women of Pendleton and Umatilla County.
What’s one thing people might not know about your town?
Caterina: It’s growing faster than we can imagine. In the two years I’ve been here, there has been a boom in new businesses and enterprises, like Ilsa’s boutique and my restaurant.
Aundy: There’s also a boom in less savory businesses like those in The Underground.
What’s the Underground?
(Caterina and Ilsa both look at Aundy)
Aundy: There are tunnels running beneath a section of town that connects several businesses and provides a place for unsavory characters to quench their thirsts, play cards, and engage the services of… um… (Aundy leans close and whispers) women of ill repute.
Ilsa: And you should never, ever stand on top of the grates set in the boardwalk because some of the men in the tunnels will try to peek up a lady’s skirt.
That’s certainly scandalous. Have any of you ever been in the Underground?
Caterina: Gracious, no!
Ilsa: I should say not! It’s no fit place for a lady.
Aundy: Oh, goodness, look at the time. We really should be going. Thank you so much for inviting us here today. We’re so grateful for this wonderful opportunity to connect with your readers.
Thank you for joining us. Any parting words for our readers?
Ilsa: If you enjoy historical fiction, clean romances, or a good western, I hope you’ll consider reading our stories in Aundy, Caterina and Ilsa.
Shanna Hatfield is a hopeless romantic with a bit of sarcasm thrown in for good measure. In addition to blogging, eating too much chocolate, and being smitten with her husband, lovingly known as Captain Cavedweller, she is a best-selling author of clean romantic fiction written with a healthy dose of humor. She is a member of Western Writers of America, Women Writing the West, and Romance Writers of America. Her historical westerns have been described as “reminiscent of the era captured by Bonanza and The Virginian” while her contemporary works have been called “laugh-out-loud funny, and a little heart-pumping sexy without being explicit in any way.”
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