The year is 1898 and the story of “Paddy's Rock,” is set in a small town in Northwest Arkansas where Kathleen Gilman's grandmother grew up as a young girl. Though the name of the town has been changed to Four Corners for the story, it is very similar to when Gilman's grandmother grew up there.
The book tells the story of the Bryant and Boone families and the trials and tribulations they face raising large families with little money but a lot of love. This is the first in a three book trilogy with the second book just being completed by Gilman.
This first book ends in 1904 in the middle of the Colorado Mine War.
The actual town where her grandmother grew up is nothing but a gas station now.
Gilman gives much credit to her husband Tony for his constant encouragement and after meeting the couple, I can see that he is also a great source of humor.
Married 20 years, the couple has lived in Gridley just five years, following her son, Pastor Ed Lucas of Gridley Christian Church where they are members.
First meeting when neighbors in Sacramento, the couple moved to Yuba City for a while before ending up in Gridley, the town that they say has many friendly people.
Growing up in Northern California, Gilman's father worked for the railroad which meant the family moving just about every year. She attended Junior High and High School in Portola graduating from there.
It's safe to say, Gilman's main hobby, her passion, is writing. It all began during her first marriage when she was writing humorous letters to her sister. Although she did not take any creative writing classes, nor any journalism classes, Gilman found her strength for writing when her high school English teacher took her under her wing.
As a child Gilman was afraid to go to the library by herself, usually talking a friend into going with her.
She says her wilderness living in areas like Forbestown and Brownsville helped with the “Paddy's Rock” trilogy.
It took Gilman 10 years to write “Paddy's Rock” and she currently has a mystery series about to be printed.
Similar to many artists these days, Gilman has had the books self-published which means she can order as many as she wants at a time.
Gilman's family loves having their lives told through her books, often trying to figure out what character is based on them.
She says she only does about five or six re-writes, usually just changing sentence structure, nothing major.
Waking up at 2 a.m., with another idea for a book or character is nothing for Gilman. She merely writes her ideas down on a tablet and tried to figure out what she wrote the next morning.
Page 2 of 2 - She enjoys not having an editor and no deadlines.
The Christian mystery series is totally different from the story of her grandmother's life in Arkansas. This series is kind of an accidental tourist type of story, kind of like she and Tony.
The character's names just come to her, which is a good thing, considering there are at least 35 names to keep track of in “Paddy's Rock.”
Besides Pastor Ed, Gilman has a daughter Patricia who lives in Galt and a son George who just moved to Gridley from Hawaii. The Gilman's have eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Asked if she has encountered any mind blocks while writing, Gilman said the ideas keep flowing, just like the character's names.
When asked what her grandmother would think of this story of her life, Gilman said she has often wondered that.
“I think she would have loved it. I pestered her to tell me her ghost story for so many years, she finally did it,” Gilman said.
“Paddy's Rock” is available on Amazon.com or call Gilman at 846-2327.