Author to speak at Toledo Library

“Letters from Elk City,” a novel by Michael Tidemann, will be the subject of a presentation by the author at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at the Toledo Public Library, located at 173 NW Seventh St. (Courtesy photo)

Michael Tidemann will give a program on his research for his historical novel, “Letters from Elk City,” at 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at the Toledo Public Library, located at 173 NW Seventh St.

Tidemann lives in Estherville, Iowa, and makes his summer home in Elk City. He authors a monthly newspaper column, Writers and Writing, that reaches 109 newspapers in the Upper Midwest. The column reviews books by both bestselling and emerging authors.

“The novel offers a dramatic backdrop to a story that spans more than four centuries,” said Tidemann.

The inspiration for “Letters from Elk City” came from a friend who discovered a piece of crockery, an 1838 French wine bottle, a porcelain doll’s face and a woman’s diamond ring in an old trash midden remaining from The Headwaters, a hunting lodge dating from the 1850s along the Yaquina River near the central Oregon coast. The lodge no longer exists

“Who could have owned these objects?” Tidemann pondered as he planned on writing the novel. After he came up with the basic concept, he began his research, starting with a voyage by British explorer Sir Francis Drake to the Oregon coast in 1579, where Drake beached his ships for repairs for six weeks in Whale Cove — now the site of the luxury Whale Cove Inn.

“Evidence would suggest that Drake had a child with an African woman named Maria, whom he freed from Spanish captors. A key question in the novel is whether Drake tried to return to Maria, whom he left on an island in the Bangaii Archipelago in the Pacific, given the fact that she had his only child,” said Tidemann.

“Letters from Elk City” is a historical romance set in Oregon and the American South. The novel also chronicles the Davis family as they struggle to overcome the heartbreak of losing a family member along the Oregon Trail and set roots in the Yaquina Valley.

Tidemann’s program includes slides of pre-Civil War forts in the Pacific Northwest ,as well as battlefields in Mississippi and Tennessee.

The program is free to the public. An author signing will follow the program. Tidemann’s author page is amazon.com/author/michaeltidemann.

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