The Wedge of the San Rafael

The Wedge of the San Rafael
Someone has to live here, in the middle of desert beauty. Might as well be the Kellys.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Borrowed Light

So far, Amazon has the book buried down my list of books. The cover isn't up yet, but I'll see if I can figure out how to upload the tip sheet onto this blog. Yikes, that's about more than my brain can process, but hey, I might manage. It's a gorgeous cover. I'm told it will also be available in Kindle.

Borrowed Light is my first - and absolutely not last - novel with an LDS theme. So, if readers are looking for more than a kiss, some sexual tension, etc., they won't be happy campers. But having said that, it's a book anyone would enjoy, Mormon or not, because a lot of us go through the kind of growing up that Julia does. At some point, we all have to be guided by our own light, and not stand in borrowed light. (And no, I do not shove religion down anyone's throat in this book. I hate stories that do that.)

I got the idea from a marvelous book called Perfection Salad, which I picked up in a used book store in Denton, Texas, years ago. Perfection Salad reads like someone's dissertation, and it's the story of the growth of scientific cooking, which developed around the turn of the 20th century. Think of "home economics," and the use of calibrated measurements, and you'll get the drift. Oh, and "dainty cooks," too.

Julia Darling is a newly minted graduate of Boston's Fannie Farmer School of Cookery. The year in 1909, and she's home again in Salt Lake City, rather unhappily engaged to a fine fellow that everything thinks is perfect for her - except her. Her little sister (!) is getting married that morning in the Salt Lake Temple, and Julia is feeling decidedly OLD. (She's 27)

In that low mood, and on a whim, she answers an ad in the Deseret News titled "Rancher Desperate." Paul Otto, long-time Wyoming rancher, wants a cook who is specifically a grad of Fannie Farmer's school. The story goes from there: At first, Mr. Otto and Julia are chalk and cheese, because they both "assume" more than they know about the other.

The story is set in southeast Wyoming, about 100 miles north of Cheyenne and not too far from the Nebraska border. The terrain is high rolling plains, with the mountains close by. We lived in Torrington, Wyoming, when my husband finished graduate school for the first time. He taught at the community college there, and I worked at Fort Laramie NHS as a ranger.

I joined the Goshen County Historical Society, and admired - from a distance - a fine-looking old rancher named Paul Otto. Thirty-five years ago, for some reason, I decided I would use that name in a western. And now I have. The original Paul Otto was distinguished-looking in that way that only a successful stockman is. When I knew him, he was getting up there in years, but he sat as straight as if he was on horseback. Marvelous memory.

Borrowed Light is a book I've been wanting to write for a long, long time.


  1. I love when an author's enthusiasm for a book comes through, and that definitely comes through here. Love the era and with the mention of Fannie Farmer, that sounds delicious. Will be looking forward to this one.

  2. I'm really looking forward to Borrowed Light, as long as there's a deep romance - I don't mind if it's a clean romance

  3. I am snowbound today in Peoria IL and signed on to Amazon to find a NEW Carla Kelly book! Trying to find out more about it led me to this website.
    I look forward to adding this to my Carla Kelly collection (I have them all! Even though I have a Kindle, I will always need to own a Carla Kelly book in "the flesh".

    Carla-have you ever come across "Heritage of the Desert" by Zane Grey? If not, I highly recommend this book. I found it on my mother's bookshelf years ago. It is a great tale of the old west and the role played by LDS pioneers. Mescal, half breed foster daughter of old man Naab(richest rancher and LDS patriarch),falls in love with a penniless government agent who ran afoul of some outlaws and was left for dead. Spike Naab, the old man's lawless son, demands Mescal as a second wife. It all leads to confrontation and a duel involving "Spike Naab's trick with a gun"! Great stuff.