MY WORK IN PROGRESS: AN HISTORICAL NOVEL ABOUT ANNIE OAKLEY & BUFFALO BILL
THEY'RE TWO AMERICAN ICONS EVERYONE'S HEARD OF...AND NOBODY KNOWS.
Anne Oakley was the female star of Buffalo Bill's Wild West, which toured the globe from 1884-1908. But though Annie's name is familiar, she's erroneously thought to be the crass backwoods girl in the musical "Annie Get Your Gun" or the lady sheriff in the Fifties TV show—and she was the polar opposite of both.
Annie Oakley hailed from Ohio and was a proper Victorian lady who dazzled crowds with her shooting, then retired to her show tent to embroider. Her astonishing gifts impressed William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, the former Army scout and buffalo hunter who was the most famous man in the world circa 1900. But their relationship went awry when she began to steal his glory.
My novel traces Oakley's journey from her teenage match against her future husband, Irish-American marksman Frank Butler, to her triumphs and reversals as "the peerless lady wing shot" of the Wild West. In the form of a memoir, my plot reveals Annie's struggle to combat Cody's corrosive envy during the summer of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee (London 1887), and her battle to overcome memories of childhood trauma so she can embrace her own success. As tension builds with her difficult boss and baffled husband, Annie makes a bold decision that tests her courage and changes her life.
I introduce a fictional character, Luce Barlow, who serves as a confidante to Annie and struggles against her attraction to the very-married Cody. I introduce all the exciting real-life figures who interacted with Annie and Cody, such as Chief Sitting Bull (who adopted Annie into his tribe), Cody's angry partner, Nate Salsbury, and the womanizing Edward, Prince of Wales, one of Cody's close chums.