E. Joe Brown

Award Winning Author

Finding Ways to Use Real Events in the Story

May 21, 2024 by E. Joe Brown
     The great thing about writing historical fiction is that the author can incorporate real events with real people into their story. I have chosen to do that, and it makes it more interesting and fun for me, and I hope it is for my readers as well.
     I set my Kelly Can Saga Series about a hundred years ago because I wanted to use my maternal grandfather (Clarence Kelly) and his stories about his time on Miller's 101 Ranch as inspiration. As I have often said to a live audience, my novels are works of fiction, but a few things in the story come from my times with "Granddaddy" sitting out under a tree somewhere or in his lap at home. He told me stories of his days as a cowboy out on the Miller's 101.

     Charlie and Susan Kelly's story starts with their meeting in 1917 and their marriage on Valentine's Day in 1919. A lot was happening around this time in Oklahoma and across the country.

The 101 Ranch was a big deal then, and they were very involved in all things agriculture, ranching, and the oil business. Including the Miller brothers in the storyline and the oil business partner E. W. Marland (Marland Oil) makes perfect sense. How things transpire in the story are my ideas. But to the best of my ability, it all could have happened how I wrote it. Harry Sinclair (Sinclair Oil), William Skelly (Skelly Oil), and J. Paul Getty (Getty Oil) were all huge in the Oklahoma oilfields at the time. They had rooms at the Hotel Tulsa, and million-dollar business deals were closed in the lobby and restaurant.

     I also included in my story how Charlie and his oil business partner (Hank Thomas) attended the mineral lease auctions in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, upon Agency Hill of Osage land. I wrote those scenes before the movie Killers of the Flower Moon. Also, I had yet to read David Grann's non-fiction book, but of course, these things happened in the 1920s and started as early as the late teens. I also incorporate things like women getting the right to vote, the start of prohibition, and the terror created by the Mafia during the 1920s.

     Charlie and Susan will go to the West Coast and eventually the East Coast. So how could we stay away from oil and cattle in Texas? There is so much to work with and I can’t wait to share it. You’ll see some of this in the third novel in the series I’ll send to my publisher within the next month. Some will be happening in books four, five, and beyond.

     I'll be in Oklahoma and Texas this summer. I hope to see y'all there.


Happy Trails,