Those who know me well can bear witness to my intention to continue to write novels based on Addie’s life, beginning shortly after her divorce in 1869, until I ran out of stories to tell. And with that in mind, I earnestly continued my in-depth research. However, I inevitably ran into a dilemma: her vast life of complex and controversial interests made the task of telling more of her stories nearly impossible.
For example, in 1870 alone, she logged over 4000 miles as a medium; a spirit artist; and a lecturer of Spiritualism, prison reform, and woman’s suffrage. And she would become ill from exhaustion, recover, and resume her schedule, saying, “My life is dear to me, because scattered through the West—parts of that life, and dependent upon it—are my children. Therefore I shall live and labor so long as I can.”
And she did—right up to her death in 1916.
Just keeping to the years 1870–1873 could easily fill several novels and/or history books on Spiritualism (and some valued religion and some hocus pocus performances), prison reform (and the unconventional theories of why a person would commit a crime), woman’s suffrage (often referred to as the “Shrieking Sisterhood”), free-love (which gained a reputation for being free lust), and the quick rise and fall of Victoria Woodhull (whom Addie supported and is one plausible reason she moved on to California in 1874).
My excellent research skills kept me submerged in the past, and I want to live in the present by following my muse into a creative new adventure.
So after fifteen years of research and producing several books on this intoxicating Ballou family, I have simply had enough. It’s time I pursue something else.
Until we meet again, stay well.