Ann Parker: The Author Who Brought Leadville to Life

    Ann Parker: The Author Who Brought Leadville to Life

    Ann Parker is an award-winning author who writes historical mystery novels set in Colorado in the 1800s. Her books feature Inez Stannert, a strong and independent woman who runs a saloon and a music store in the booming mining town of Leadville.

    Parker’s interest in Leadville was sparked by her family history. Her maternal grandmother, also named Inez Stannert Parker, was born and raised in Denver, but had spent some time in Leadville as a young woman. Parker learned about this from her uncle Walt, who told her stories about the town’s rich and varied history, especially during the Silver Rush era.

    Parker began researching Leadville’s history in 1998, when she noticed parallels between the dotcom explosion in California and the Silver Rush in Colorado. She decided to write her first novel, Silver Lies, which won the Willa Literary Award for Historical Fiction and the Colorado Gold Award for Best Mystery. Since then, she has written six more books in the series, each one exploring a different aspect of life and crime in Leadville.

    Parker’s novels are praised for their historical accuracy, vivid descriptions, and complex characters. She uses newspapers, history books, and personal accounts from the time period to create authentic and engaging stories. She also visits Leadville regularly to get a feel for the town and its surroundings.

    Parker lives in California with her husband and two children. She is also a science writer and editor for a national laboratory. She is currently working on her eighth book in the series, The Secret in the Wall, which will be published in 2022.

    Parker says that one of the themes she explores in her novels is the role of women in the 19th century. She says that she was inspired by her grandmother, who was a strong and independent woman who worked as a teacher and a librarian. She wanted to create a female protagonist who was not constrained by the social norms of the time, but who also faced realistic challenges and conflicts.

    Another theme that Parker explores is the diversity and multiculturalism of Leadville. She says that she was fascinated by the fact that Leadville was a melting pot of different cultures, races, and religions, and that this created both opportunities and tensions for the people who lived there. She says that she tries to portray the different perspectives and experiences of her characters, who include Native Americans, African Americans, Chinese immigrants, Irish immigrants, Jews, Catholics, and Protestants.

    Parker also says that she enjoys writing about the historical events and figures that shaped Leadville’s history. She says that she likes to weave real facts and personalities into her fictional plots, and that she often finds inspiration from the headlines and stories of the newspapers from the time period. Some of the historical figures that appear in her novels include Doc Holliday, Oscar Wilde, Susan B. Anthony, and Baby Doe Tabor.

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