Kathryn Spurgeon

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Book signing in the 1930s hotel

I found the most awesome place to release my 1930s historical novel, A Promise Child! The lobby of the Aldridge Hotel in Shawnee, Oklahoma. That’s so appropriate since the book is set in Shawnee. The hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and it’s simply regal, gorgeous, and right out of the past.

The Aldridge was the tallest building in Shawnee at the time of its construction in 1929. Ten stories. The lobby and mezzanine contain much beautiful marble. Many people take wedding pictures there. The floors above contain 200 rooms and are now used for senior apartment rentals.

According to what I found on the internet, the building was built by oil man Hilton A. Phillips during the 1920’s oil boom at a cost of $750,000. I can’t believe in all the years I lived in Pott County, I never visited this beautiful historic building.

It’s located at 20-24 East 9th Street on the northwest corner of 9th and Bell Street. Come and join us at the Aldridge Hotel lobby on Tuesday, August 15, 2016, to celebrate the release of the second historical book in the Promise Series!

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A Promise Child – second novel to be released!

My second historical novel, A Promise Child, is ready! The book release date is August 15th, 2017.

Here’s the back cover of the book:

Sibyl Trimble Pope, from a wealthy banking family, marries a handsome hobo from the wrong side of the tracks.

As the Depression rips through Sibyl’s hometown of Shawnee, Oklahoma, it leaves dying stores, repossessed farms, and countless men and women out of work. Now living in poverty, Sibyl suffers the burdens of a changing world and troubled economy.

Based on a true story, Sibyl Pope wants to make the world a better place. Since her youth, she has followed her papa, a respected, clever-minded banker. Interested in socialist politics and asking the hard questions of life, she struggles to find her own purpose. She does her best to listen to God, even when her father refuses to help.

Blessings come. A new baby, a job with the PWA, and a promise of a brighter future. Concerned for her children, she still struggles to keep food on her table and love alive in her heart.

Many people head west to save their families. Will Sibyl and Fremont abandon Oklahoma and their hopes and dreams for the promises in California? Or will they find a way to survive in Shawnee?

Click here to order A Promise Child on Amazon.

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A Café with a past.

Shawnee, Oklahoma has some interesting places that have existed since the 1920’s or 30’s, some mentioned in my book, A Promise to Break. Last week, when I was in Shawnee, my mother and I ate at the Hamburger King.
She says they make the best hamburgers she’s ever eaten with toasted buns, fresh lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. They also make many kinds of homemade pies. Oh, delicious.

What important people or dignitaries may have eaten at this hamburger joint during the past decades? Many famous people came through Shawnee and could have stopped in. It’s strange to think that my great-grandparents probably ate at the same café I did. That history connects me to them in a tighter way.

Which makes me think of my ancestors’ godly, Christian lives and the way their values have been passed down through the years. Some history never fades. I hope my great-grandchildren remember the values I’ve been taught and tried to live by. Maybe that’s one reason I write historical fiction based on true stories, so future generations won’t forget their past.


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The Tempting Curves of a Classic Car

Saturday I took a walk with a friend through Hafer Park in Edmond, Oklahoma, and about a hundred smooth-looking, shined-to-perfection classical cars were lined up. My heart lurched. It was the Liberty Fest Car Show and I love, love, love old cars.

I took a picture with the owner who won “The Best Car of the Show” while another car owner, Jack Sweeden, gave me his book “How to Wire Your Street Rod.”

My love for these classics started back in the early 70’s when a Model T convertible sat in our driveway. I piled my three little daughters into back seat (no seat belts) and drove into town. Since it had no gas gauge, I’d always stop and get a dollars’ worth of gas. Those were the good ole days!

One of the main characters of my historical novel, A Promise to Break, was a mechanic back in the 30’s. Maybe I got my love of cars from Fremont Pope, my grandfather. I tried to describe some of the old classics in my novel. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 4 in my book.

“The Chrysler’s body was long, smooth as silk and classy as a mink stole. A neighborhood mutt chased the wire wheel spokes, and a gardener turned to stare at the curved fenders and rear bumper guards passing by.
Through the speckled Saturday afternoon sun, I drove the sleek motorcar south under the tall oak trees past Wallace Street. Their limbs stretched high over the road like people standing on tiptoe, struggling to touch in the middle.”

I’m still gathering notes for the rest of the 1930’s novels based on a true story. See A Promise to Break: Love, Faith, and Politics in the 1930s.



Exploring a Ghost Town

Last week I explored the ghost town of Waco for some final descriptions in my new book. In the early twentieth century, Waco had (at least) a post office, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop and a church.


Not much remains of Waco now, which was about ten miles west of Shawnee. A collapsed dug out. The Black Cemetery down the road where family members are buried. Then we found the rock foundation of the church on the corner of Okay and Waco Road!

I was overjoyed. I didn’t expect to find this much. The porch steps are almost covered with brush and weeds, but this church played an important role in the background of my family’s faith. You see, the Popes, my grandparents, homesteaded in Waco and donated five acres for the church building.

The Promise Child: Faith, Loss, and Hope in the 1930s, is the second book in this series. It follows A Promise to Break. Sibyl Pope, who seeks to be a perfect wife, mother and homemaker, experiences the worst of the Depression. A third child brings her joy and she sees God’s blessings. However a crisis occurs which helps her realize that God is with us through the trials, not just through the blessings.

Set from 1936 to 1939, this second book brings the town of Shawnee to life through the eyes of a strong-willed, educated young woman.

I enjoy exploring ghost-towns and Waco may just be the focus of my next series. I’m already researching.

For more articles on researching see: