Authors detail Northwest Colorado history during book-signing
August 16, 2018
A pair of writers with roots in the Yampa Valley revisited Northwest Colorado recently to show off works that tell the tale of noteworthy historical happenings.
Rose Boscia and Debra Shelton were at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Saturday for a book-signing offered by Craig’s Downtown Books.
Boscia was promoting the book “Trout Creek Canyon: A Colorado Family,” while Shelton discussed two releases she’s penned — “Second Chances” and “Escaping the Darkness: Journey to Sanctuary.”
Boscia, originally from Oak Creek in Routt County, described her book as similar to “Little House on the Prairie,” taking the title from a geographic feature that plays into her family history.
“Trout Creek is right up by Oak Creek, and my dad was a coal miner and owner with 71 acres up there,” she said.
Boscia said she grew up very poor early in life with no electricity or running water in their home.
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“It was a big house, but it was actually a shack,” she said.
Boscia said it was conversations with her sister — 10 years older — that helped her recall details of her time there, as well as a wide variety of old photos that made their way into the pages of the finished product. The book was first released through self-publishing last year, the result of two years of writing. Boscia said a full-time in Denver kept her busy, though she continued to plug away at her book.
“I had a friend who encouraged me to write, and I just thought, ‘this would be a really fun project,'” she said.
Boscia has also promoted the book at events in Steamboat Springs and Oak Creek, such as Independence Day’s Art in the Park, where she ran across numerous folks who knew her family.
“I talked to so many people who remembered buying coal from my dad, and they were able to get me even more information than I had, so that was cool,” she said.
Shelton, on the other hand, was promoting a book about the area that goes back even further chronologically.
“Second Chances,” part of a planned series called “Wild Justice,” was released about a month ago and is set in 1899 Colorado and Wyoming, specifically Browns Park in what is now Moffat County.
Notorious western outlaw Butch Cassidy and associates figure into the story, but none of the real-life people are the protagonist.
“It’s about a woman from Philadelphia who comes out from back east looking for a brother she didn’t know she had,” Shelton said. “She runs into the Wild Bunch at the Bassett Ranch, and that’s where it kind of takes off.”
The book is historical fiction, with a mixture of creative license and actual events.
“It’s history based in fact,” Shelton said. “My family used to have the cabin that they used, so I grew up hearing stories about all that and pulled it all into that and used the facts to create the fiction.”
Shelton grew up in Craig “off and on” before living in Denver as a teenager. She raised her own family in Craig as well and currently lives in Montrose.
After leaving Craig, she did volunteer work in African nation Zambia, which is part of the inspiration for her other book, “Journey to Sanctuary,” released a year ago, which also draws from true events, namely the Rwandan genocide of the 1990s.
“One of the girls who was in the orphanage where I worked, she is a survivor of that,” she said. “When she was 11, she walked by herself across three countries to find safety.”
Both books have follow-ups on the way, Shelton said. “Wild Justice” is intended to be a trilogy, with the second entry, “Fragile Reprieve,” currently in editing and a third in the works.
Boscia’s “Trout Creek Canyon: A Colorado Family” and Shelton’s “Second Chances” and “Escaping the Darkness: Journey to Sanctuary” are currently available at Downtown Books.