Check out Emma Palova’s books Greenwich Meridian Memoir about the Konecny family immigration saga from former Czechoslovakia to the USA, books from the Shifting Sands series including the newest one The Lost Town. The historical fiction novel is set in the ghost town of Singapore in Michigan during its bustling lumbering era. Meet Miss Ida and Mr. Bosch, a New York land speculator.
Copyright (c) 2022. Emma Palova. All rights reserved.
Lowell author & reporter Emma Palova completed The Lost Town, a third book in the Shifting Sands series on the last day of June.
The historical fiction novel is set in Singapore, MI, a ghost town on the shores of Lake Michigan during the pioneer era of the 1830s.
Palova captured the spirit of the once thriving lumbering town in its main characters – beautiful Miss Ida, her boss lumber baron John Bosch, Singapore founder Oshea Wilder and supporting characters, Sir Artemas Wallace and housemaid Mrs. Fisch.
Miss Ida was torn between her hometown of Chicago and her new home Singapore, and between two men. Who will win her heart?
The story unravels as the greedy New York investors set their eyes on the undeveloped land at the Oxbow bend in the Kalamazoo River surrounded by sand dunes with much coveted white pines.
Wily Oshea established the New York & Michigan Co. in 1836 to facilitate the development of Singapore. The investors envisioned that Singapore would rival Chicago and Milwaukee. With its humming mills, boarding houses, hotels, and general stores at the height of its prosperity, Singapore almost outshone Chicago.
The name remains a mystery, as its famous counterpart island city in East Asia was only a fledgling town at the time.
“The mysterious name inspired me to write this novel,” Palova said.
According to one interpretation, the exotic name was used to honor the “singing sands” of the Lake Michigan shore. The shape of the grains and the moisture combine to make the sand sing or squeak when someone walks on it.
Always on the hunt for stories and inspiration, Palova walked into the general store on Butler Street in downtown Saugatuck in the mid- 1990s. She picked up a book about Singapore and checked out the historic marker in front of the Saugatuck Village Hall.
“The story just gripped my imagination and stayed with me throughout the years,” she said. “Then I forgot all about it for decades.”
It wasn’t until getting ready for the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) last November, that Palova realized that what she had planned to write about Singapore would turn into a novel rather than just a short story.
“I wanted to do the fascinating story of Singapore its justice,” she said. “I knew a short story wouldn’t cut it.”
During her research for the novel, Palova came across Singapore’s ‘wildcat bank.’
“I knew this was big,” she said, “bigger than life.”
Singapore had a ‘wildcat bank’ that issued its own ornate bank notes that are still in the collection of the Saugatuck Douglas Historical Society in Douglas.
“I used their online collections catalog exclusively for research,” she said. “It’s an excellent tool for anyone who wants to write about history. Most historical societies in Michigan have online collections.”
The novel covers the entire span of Singapore’s existence from the 1830s to its demise in the 1870s. At one point the town was known as Ellis Island since it accepted immigrants from European countries like Norway and Holland. The town was the first stop for Hollanders before they moved further up north and established Holland. It came before Saugatuck which was smaller and known as Flats.
“I wove nautical stories into the novel because I love the seas,” Palova said. “I wish I was a sailor.”
It was not just a lumbering era, but also a time for steamers, schooners, and tugboats on the Great Lakes. Nautical transportation was just as dangerous as travel by land, and later by rail.
“Sometimes the story evolved all on its own to my surprise like in the chapter ‘Mail fraud at Oxbow’, she said. “I was really surprised at what Ida was capable of doing driven by secret love.”
Other chapters were meticulously planned with research usually showing up later in the novel.
“My previous research didn’t help me much, but the immediate research during the NaNoWriMo challenge helped,” she said. “I can easily say that this novel is a direct product of the challenge.”
During NaNoWriMo, Palova wrote a minimum of 1,750 words daily to reach the victory lane at 50,000 words by the end of November. After that came months of more writing, revisions, and editing.
Carol Briggs of Lowell edited The Lost Town. The whimsical cover was designed by graphic artist Jeanne Boss of Rockford. Beta readers include Nancy Price Stroosnyder and author Diana Kathryn Wolfe-Plopa.
Emma’s ease at mixing actual history into her stories is remarkable, and so entails Miss Ida’s response to an invitation to a soon-to-be bustling “Singapore” on the shores of Lake Michigan. She is transported away from Chicago, family, and friends. She quickly learns the duties expected of her in maintaining a boarding house and warehouse in the rapidly growing community. Soon she falls in love with one of the corrupt founders. The many colorful characters weave a fantastic story of love, mystery, hope, and faith. This is a quick, very worthwhile read!
Palova will be signing her new book at the following locations: Fallasburg Summer Celebration on July 30, Englehardt Library in Lowell TBA, Holland, Aug. 6, and Paradise, Aug. 19-20. Listen in to an upcoming podcast about The Lost Town on http://emmapalova123.podbean.com
The cover of The Lost Town was designed by graphic artist Jeanne Boss or Rockford.
Summer is finally here and I am getting ready for several road trips. My first event of the year is the Palmer Park Art Fair on June 4 & 5 located at 910 Merrill Plaisance St. in Detroit. I am very excited since I’ve never been to this event. I tried to avoid big-city gigs but because of the nature of Greenwich Meridian Memoir which describes our life in communist Czechoslovakia and our travels across three continents, Detroit with a large Czech community is a must-stop.
Palmer Park Art Fair is a premier event on Lake Frances with an authors’ tent with 13 authors, and 120 other art vendors selling original artworks of various media, including painting, sculpture, music, mixed media, and more. In addition, the event will have a music stage and specialty booths.
The hours are on June 4 from 10 to 7 p.m. and June 5 from 11 to 5 p.m.
Next weekend I will be at GIZZARD FEST, POTTERVILLE, JUNE 10& 11Gizzard Fest is not your ordinary festival. Thousands of people stream into Potterville for this unique event and good old-fashioned fun! The small-town atmosphere, live music, carnival, and great food (including plenty of gizzards) bring people from across the Midwest.
The hours are on June 10 from 9 a.m. to DARK, June 11 from 8 a.m. to DARK
LAKESHORE ART FESTIVAL, MUSKEGON, JUNE 25 & 26
This event is held in downtown Muskegon with more than 20 authors representing all genres. The LAF features a unique blend of fine art, handcrafted goods, music, food, and fun. Experience over 300 juried fine art and specialty craft exhibitors, a Children’s Lane, an artisan food market, street performers, multiple interactive art stations and so much more.
The hours are on June 25 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and June 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Detroit Virtual Book Fest July 15-July 17 see the link at the bottom
COMING SOON The Lost Town is a historical fiction novel set in a ghost town. Protagonist Ida is torn between her hometown of Chicago and her new home across Lake Michigan, and between two men. Who will win her heart- her husband or her lover?Shifting Sands is a growing anthology of short stories and a brand new novel Shifting Sands: The Lost Town coming soon. The novel was edited by Carol Briggs of Lowell with the cover designed by graphic artist Jeanne Boss of Rockford. The first book is a collection of 13 stories divided into three circles based on my life experiences: retail, journalism, and immigration. The second book Secrets is a collection of 15 short stories with the main historical fiction story Silk Nora set in Belding, MI. There are other stories as well such as the Chief about a corrupt small-town police chief and 40 Hunks exploring cheap labor from Mexico. FOR THE LOVE OF BOOKS PODCAST with host EMMA PALOVA Listen in for a chance to win a signed copy in the podcast book giveaway. http://emmapalova123.podbean.com and major podcasting apps.
June Schedule Jon Stott, Summers at the Lake, June 2 Mark Loeb, special guest at Palmer Park Art Fair, June 3 Kris Gair, The Beautiful Moment, June 3 Nikki Mitchell, Nightshade Forest, June 17 Deborah Frontiera, Superior Tapestry, June 17 Victor Volkman, U.P. Reader, June 24 Sponsored by Doc Chavent, The Lowell Ledger, Modern History Press, Nikki Mitchell Find Out More
Detroit Virtual Book Fair, July 15-17, link to the catalog of my books in my virtual booth coming soon.
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