Thursday, November 10, 2011

LINDA LAROQUE--Best selling author of Western Historical Romance

I don’t know about other writers, but when writing a story, ideas pop up, and I find myself needing to research something. Such was the case when I wrote my newest time travel, A Marshal of Her Own, set in 1890s Prairie, Texas. Dessa Wade, an investigative reporter in her modern life, is given a typewriter by her soon-to-be husband Marshal Cole Jeffers. Imagine her thrill at having a means of putting her words to paper. The fountain pen had been invented, but wasn’t very reliable, and Dessa wasn’t adept at using a quill. Most of the ink found its way onto her fingers and paper. Her only alternative was a bulky pencil.
So today, I want to talk about the typewriter and the model Dessa received.
The idea of a typewriter first began not only as a way to communicate more quickly but also to aid the blind in communication. Yet, in the three articles I selected for this post, no mention of a typewriter aiding the blind was mentioned. For my post I'm focusing on the machine as a method of communication for journalists, writers, and work in the office.

The invention of the typewriter didn't receive international acclaim or attention like other inventions of the time such as the automobile or the telephone. One possible reason is that it was designed for work, not socializing.

The first patent for a typewriter like machine was issued in 1714 to Henry Mill of England. Unfortunately, no example of his work survives.

William Burt, of Detroit, Michigan patented his machine, called a typographer in 1829. It was designed with characters on a rotating frame. Burt's machine and others that followed were not successful as they were hard to use, cumbersome, and often took longer to produce a letter than if writing by hand.

Christopher Latham Sholes of Milwaukee, Wisconsin,  together with Carlos Gidden and Samuel Soule, patented the first useful typewriter. His patent was licensed to a well-known American gun maker and in 1874 the first commercial typewriter, the Remington Model 1, was placed on the market.

Thomas Alva Edison, using the Sholes model, built the first electric typewriter in 1872 but the machine didn't become widely used until the 1950s.

Many different types of typewriters were developed in the 1880s, but the one designed to resemble what we are familiar with today was the Underwood No. 1, invented by F. X. Wagner.
It was the first typewriter to strike the front of the planten and users could see what they were typing.

My focus today is on the Remington Model 2 shown in the picture above. This is the model my heroine, Dessa Wade, received.  It was bulky and heavy.
If you look closely at the picture, you can see there is no shift key and you can only type in capitals. Shole is also famous for the QWERTY layout used today.

Like the Remington Model 1, the Model 2 continues the up-strike tradition. The keys hit the planten at the bottom so you cannot see what you're typing. Still, the Remington Model 2 is the first commercially successful typewriter. It wasn't until 1908 that Remington changed to the front strike planten with the Remington Model 10.

I learned to type on an old Underwood typewriter. Using one required strong fingers and I could pound out about 70 words per minute. Vintage typewriters are in style again, at least for writers who'd like to have one in their office for decoration.


A Marshal of Her Own – Blurb and Excerpt
Despite rumors of “strange doings” at a cabin in Fredericksburg, investigative reporter Dessa Wade books the cottage from which lawyer, Charity Dawson, disappeared in 2008. Dessa is intent on solving the mystery. Instead, she is caught in the mystery that surrounds the cabin and finds herself in 1890 in a shootout between the Faraday Gang and a US Marshal.
Marshal Cole Jeffers doesn’t believe Miss Wade is a time traveler. He admits she’s innocent of being an outlaw, but thinks she knows more about the gang than she’s telling. When she’s kidnapped by Zeke Faraday, Cole is determined to rescue her. He’s longed for a woman of his own, and Dessa Wade just might be the one—if she’ll commit to the past.

Dessa stood still and watched as they conversed. Something stank to high heaven about this entire situation. Why were the cops chasing robbers on horseback? It’s not like Fredericksburg was that isolated. She glanced at the captured men. The boy moaned, and she made a step to go over and help him. The Marshal spun, and the expression in his eye froze her in place.
 “He needs first aid.”
 “He’s fine. The Doc will tend to him when we get to the jail.”

“You could at least call 911 and let them patch him up for you.” She nodded to the man lying so still with his eyes closed. “Your other prisoner doesn’t look so good. He’s going to die on you if you don’t start CPR or get him some help.”
“Lady, no one is going to hear a yell from out here. Never heard of any 911 or CPR.” He propped the hand not holding the shotgun on his hip and threw her a disgusted look. “Are you blind? That man is dead, shot through the heart.”

Her head swam for a moment, and she struggled not to give in to the sensation and faint. She drew in deep gulps of air. “Well...well..., what about the coroner and the meat wagon, not to mention the CSI folks? If you don’t get them to record the scene, how are you going to cover your butt? The authorities might say you shot him in cold blood.”
He looked at her like she’d sprouted an extra head. “I don’t know what the hell you are talking about woman. No one will question my authority. I’m the law in this county. Now, be quiet, or I’m going to gag you.”

 A Marshal of Her Own will be available on November 23, 2011 at The Wild Rose Press,, Barnes and and other online book stores. It is the sequel to A Law of Her Own available at The Wild Rose Press,, and Barnes and and other online book stores. I’m awaiting a release date for A Love of His Own, the third story in the Prairie, Texas series.
My release contest for A Marshal of Her Own begins today. I’ll be giving away this vintage typewriter pin. To enter the drawing, go to my webiste or blog and sign up for my newsletter. If you already receive it, email me at
 with A Marshal of Her Own contest in the subject line.


  1. Great info on the typewriters-thank you. Makes me remember my first typing lessons at school. We sat at huge Olivetti(I think)typewriters and the teacher(a man?-shock horror! way back in 1965 Scotland) walked up and down the aisle between desks. If he saw your eyes stray down to the typewriter he would launch out with his blackboard pointer(I kid you not!)and rap your knuckles. It was painful. Funny how I didn't choose to continue doing Secretarial studies when choosing my subjects: instead chemistry, physics and french replaced typing. Now, as a writer, I ask myself if it would have been better to have taken the pain?

  2. Linda,
    Great post. I loved the information on typewriters. Reseaching is one of my favorite things before I start a story.

    Good luck and many sales with A Marshal of Her Own. The except left me wanting to know more!

  3. Wonderful post! It brought back typing class and the old Royal my mother had that when I got to typing to fast the keys would jam up together. Oh, how I wanted an electric one!

    Best wishes on a great book!


  4. Linda,
    Fun blog about the typewriter and classes at school. I think I was typing around 70 back then too. We had a wonderful teacher who tried to be tough. She was a sweetheart.

    Good luck with your western time travel! The first romance I wrote with my mother back in the 90s. It was a western time travel. In our story the hero went back in time. That story is currently on the closet shelf. ;-)
    Wishing you many happy readers!

  5. Ouch, Nancy! That sounds like my class except I don't think she ever rapped our knuckles. I did have a math teacher that pulled up a boy's pants leg and wore his leg out with a ruler. Now it would be child abuse and sexual harrasment.

  6. Hi Jerrie, I love research too, especially when something pops up in the middle of the story and I need info.

  7. Oh, yeah, Lauri. I jammed the keys often. Plus, an aggrevating boy in my class (when we started a timed drill) would hop up when the teacher wasn't looking and hit the return key to mess me up.

  8. Your book sounds very interesting! I enjoy time travels, too.
    I remember my sister getting a Smith-Corona typwriter when I was twelve. As soon as I got the chance, I sat down and wrote my first book - a mystery. Can't remember a thing about it except the protagonist's name was Kerry. I drew pictures for the story, too.
    Man, I wish I'd saved that book.
    I was a medical transcriber for many years before I became an RN, so I remember Underwoods well. Then IBM and on and on.
    That typewriter is a great device for your book.

  9. Jeanmarie, maybe it's time to bring that story out of the closet and dust it off. Love those time travels!

  10. I loved this post, Linda. I have typed on a manual typewriter in my lifetime so can relate to the pounding of the fingers. I had to laugh a couple of years ago when my daughters friends visited and saw my portable typewriter sitting on my work table and exclaimed - 'Oh, look, and old-fashioned typewriter." Yes, it did make me feel old. :)

    I had no idea the typewriter went back so far. Very interesting.

    I do agree, you cover is awesome. Best of luck with lots of sales. Am thinking I definitely need to get a copy of this story.

  11. It's a shame, Lynne, that we don't think to save things from our past like your book. I look back now and wish I hadn't tossed items, especially those with sentimental value. But, if you're like me, you just didn't have room, plus, could you find where you put it?

  12. Haha, Paisley, our kids think we grew up in the dark ages and in many respects they're right. If I had a big house with lots of room, I'd have an old Underwood for decoration.

    By-the-way, I love your name.

  13. Welcome, Linda, my dear Bandera friend. Love the info on typewriters. realize I've got one in the wip I'll work on after this last book (8) in my White Rose Press series is done, and I'm shooting for the day before Thanksgiving.

    My parents forced me to take typing in summer school right after eighth grade. I was so mad at them then but I've thanked them every day since. We learned on selectrics and I remember seeing the keyboard at night when I closed my eyes.

    I made a little money in college typing papers for boys who didn't know how, usually a buck a page. Ah, memories.

    Can't wait for the new books! You have such terrific ideas and plots. oxox So good to see you here.

  14. Hi Tanya. Looking forward to going back to Bandara, not sure if the horses are ready. Your parents were right to make you take typing. Many wish they had later in life.

    Good luck with your wip. Love your stories!

  15. Very interesting history on the typewriters.

    I can't wait to read about Dessa:)

    Hope to see you at our Chapter meeting on Saturday!

  16. Thank you, Susan. Dessa was a fun character to write. Plan to be at the meeting. See you there!

  17. My grandkids don't even know what a typewriter is. Don't think they've evern seen a rotary phone, either.

    I remember learning to type on a manual typewriter--we had to look at the copy all the time, too. We didn't get whacked, but our teacher made it known to everyone if we looked at the keyboard. Also, we didn't have letters on our keys so it didn't do much good to look, anway.

  18. When I was nine my brother got an old Underwood. That was the first typewriter I'd ever seen. I wasn't allowed to use it, but I think it began my fascination with typing. Thanks for for bringing this to us. Very interesting.

  19. Jacquie, no letters on the keys? I don't think ours was without letters. Of course that was almost 50 years ago so it may have slipped my mind. Yes, our grandkids would be shocked at some of the inconveniences we did without. Thanks for stopping by!

  20. Calisa, We didn't have a typewriter in our home. I didn't have one until adulthood when I needed one to type assignments at night for my teaching job. Now that I think about it, I don't know how I typed papers in college. Maybe I had one then too but just don't remember it.

  21. Sweethearts, You have a beautiful blog. Thank you so much for having me today and for the beautiful presentation, Celia.

  22. Loved reading your research about typewriters, Linda. We still use one at our office, mainly for ease of completing forms but also because it freaks out the younger patients.
    Congratulations on your newest release!


  23. I learned typing, shorthand & Business Principles at High School. Who uses Shorthand anymore?? The typing skills are useful.

  24. Jude, someone else said they had one in their office just for forms. Boy, we've come a long way haven't we? Did you ever use the old memograph machines?

  25. So true, Marybelle, shorthand used to be 'the way' for secretaries. I didn't take it, business wasn't my thing. Don't know why I took typing but took it in college too. I'm so glad I did.

  26. This was a fun post, Linda! I took typing in junior high school and I remember typing so many manuscripts before personal computers existed. And all the mistakes I made. Since every page had to be perfect, I spent days and weeks trying to make them that way. And then never sold anyway!

    But I'm so glad I did because it makes such a difference in typing mss now!

    Congrats on your book! Love time travels, and my own: A Ghost of a Chance at Love is set in our area and now out--a western ghostly time travel. I think it's fun to explore the old west as a contemporary person! Good luck!

  27. Wow, Terry, typing in junior high school? I don't know if we had it offered as an elective but it's a skill I'm glad I acquired along the way.

    I'm going to get around to reading your ghost story one day soon.


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