with Laurie Moore-Moore
call Gone to Dallas an historical novel salted with history. What does
background in which the story unfolds is built around actual happenings in
Dallas and in Texas at the time—that’s what I
with history.” For instance: a grand ball, the visit of a mud and muck circus,
the collapse of the bridge over the Trinity, a plague of locusts, the fire that
burns Dallas to the ground. I couldn’t make up more interesting events as a
backdrop to the story! And although most of my characters are fictional, the
book is also peppered with real people—from Sarah Cockrell, often called Dallas’s first capitalist, and certainly a brilliant businesswoman,
to Barry Derrit, the slave who manned the toll bridge over the Trinity
River. These characters play active roles in the fictional story. My goal was a
really good read, rooted in history, with a spark of inspiration
hot off the press . . .what early response have you had?
Here are three examples:
*Paul Hobby, former CEO of Texas
Monthly wrote, “Laurie Moore-Moore projects a tale of decency and
resourcefulness that is fundamental to the continuing identity of the American
West in general and of Texas specifically.”
*Teresa Burleson, Director, Stockyards Museum, Fort Worth, said, “Sara
was fascinating—a strong and enterprising young woman. She had the grit and
moxie that Texas women are known for. A good fictional read with real historical events
thrown in—an interesting twist. I come from a long line of strong Texas women, so I find Sara and the other women in this story inspiring.”
W. Arthur Porter, former Professor and Associate Dean for Innovation at the
University of Texas at Austin, used multiple exclamation marks in his review of
the book. “A female protagonist who’s Tennessee Smart and Texas Tough! Gone to
Dallas captures an historically accurate essence of early Texas and how
committed and tenacious early settlers had to be to make it — especially the
is the novel’s title Gone to Dallas?
when Texas was part of Mexico, Americans fleeing the law, creditors, or other
problems would sometimes flee to Texas, generally painting or posting signs
to Texas” or GTT on their doors or fence posts. The message became associated
with law breakers and other rascals. When Texas won its independence, it began
granting land to newcomers. People in search of homesteads and opportunity
began to flow into the state. Signs were posted and wagons painted with “Gone to Texas.” This time, the words
were a symbol of available land and new opportunity. Some of those who were “Gone to Texas” were “Gone to Dallas”—Thus the novel’s name.
to Dallas is book
one of your Brave and Strong series. Why that name?
name comes from the last phrases of the Texas state song:
“God bless you Texas and keep you brave and strong
that you might grow in power and worth throughout the ages long.”
seemed to me that our Texas ancestors—men and women alike—were brave and
strong. I wanted to recognize and honor that in the name of the book series and
in my new Podcast, Texas Brave and Strong.
write about Dallas in this time (1856-1861)?
chose Dallas because it’s home and
also because the city has a fascinating history! Gone to Dallas is
keyed to the period when Dallas began to take shape and grow. It ends just as
the Civil War is about to begin. Also, people all over the world seem to have a
fascination with the city. Some of that goes back to the old Dallas TV
series, and to the mystique of the Dallas Cowboys football team in Roger
Staubach’s era. I traveled in my business
for thirty years and taxi and Uber drivers would almost always want to talk
about some aspect of Dallas as soon as they knew where I was from.
is your writing process?
I’m what the publishing world calls a seat-of-the-pants
writer. I don’t outline the entire
story in advance. I just sit down and start to write. The first 54,000
words took less than a month to write. . . although they ended up being in the
middle of the book! Feedback from very early readers was helpful in shaping the
story, but the characters took control and I just followed with the words. I
was sometimes surprised by the twists and turns in the story. I hope readers
will be as well. Writing the novel was a joyful experience!
clues about the sequel?
sequel—Cotton, Cattle, and Conflict starts with the Civil War and
carries through Reconstruction. I was tempted to name it Camels, Cattle, and