Early American popular fiction was dominated by inexpensive "dime novels" which were characterized by larger-than-life characters, fast paced action and plenty of romance. These Western-set stories were some of the best entertainment around, not unlike romance novels of today. Author Jo Goodman used these books as inspiration for her newest story The Last Renegade and shares what her hero Kellen Coltrane — and readers — can learn from each of the dime novel titles in the Nat Church series mentioned in Goodman's latest release.
Dime novels enjoyed many years of popularity with readers of all ages — and not just because of the price. Those serials with a Western theme were particularly successful in the late 1800s as the railroad opened up mountains, prairies, and plains. The larger than life heroes portrayed between lurid covers put readers in the midst of amazing (and improbable) adventures. Nat Church, the hero of more than twenty-two novels by Max McCartney, was widely believed to live outside the fictional confines of the books in which he was featured. It’s little wonder that Kellen Coltrane — The Last Renegade — learned a thing or two (or ten) from those dime novels.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM NAT CHURCH DIME NOVELS
Nat Church and the Watchers: Listen with your eyes.
Nat Church and the Best Gang: Pick your moments as carefully as you pick a lock.
Nat Church and the Frisco Fancy: In poker, losing can be a winning strategy.
Nat Church and the Sleeping Detective: Telegraph your important thoughts.
Nat Church and the Chinese Box: Even the most enigmatic puzzle has a solution.
Nat Church and the Committee of Vigilance: Organize the townsfolk.
Nat Church and the Shooting Contest: People respect a straight shooter.
Nat Church and the Ambush at Broken Bow: Set the trap.
Nat Church and the Hanging at Harrisonville: Trial and error.
Nat Church and the Indian Maiden: For goodness sake, kiss the girl.
- Jo Goodman