DORSET, Vt., July 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — When you browse historical fiction at your local bookstore, you’ll see plenty of novels set in London, Paris, and New York. On August 1st, a new title will join their ranks, only this story unfolds in an unexpected location: Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
Henderson House, by Caren Simpson McVicker, follows Bessie Blackwell, an Oklahoma spinster who falls for a divorced man in May of 1941, and her manipulative sister who threatens Bessie’s chance at happiness when she exposes a dark family secret.
Born in Oklahoma City, McVicker grew up in New Jersey, but family stories kept her connected to her Oklahoma roots. McVicker’s late father, Charles “Chuck” Simpson, was a former University of Tulsa basketball star, and her mother, ninety-year-old Shirley Barbour Simpson, was Miss Oklahoma in 1952. Before her sophomore year in high school, McVicker’s family moved to Baton Rouge, and she and her father began making Memorial Day trips to Oklahoma.
“We’d pick up my grandma in Tulsa, then my great-aunt in Bartlesville, and head out to the Woodlawn Cemetery in Claremore,” McVicker said. “Teenage me was fascinated by these ancient sisters tottering around the headstones, arguing about what color plastic flowers to place on each grave. They were both born in Cherokee Indian Territory. My grandma lost her husband early and worked hard to raise my father. Aunt Boo Boo was an old maid in her forties, working for Phillips Petroleum, and living in a boardinghouse when she fell in love. Listening to their stories, I knew I wanted to write a novel inspired by them.”
But building a life can get in the way of starting a novel. It took thirty-five years for the idea to resurface.
“During one of my last visits with my father, we reminisced about our trips to Oklahoma. When I got stuck in the Atlanta airport on my way home, I took out my laptop and started writing.”
As winner of the Inkshares 2020 All Genre Contest, Henderson House earned a publishing contract with the Oakland-based indie press. McVicker resides in Vermont and is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation. For more information, visit www.hendersonhousenovel.com.
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SOURCE Caren Simpson McVicker Writer