Meet the Author: Wanda Vaughn

Local author Wanda Vaughn will talk about her new children's novel "Huntsville 1892: CLARA," the first in a series of "Alabama Girls" historical novels, on Sunday, July 15, at 2 p.m. at the Main branch. Admission is free.

May of 1892 is an exciting time for young Clara Landers. Bicycles have arrived in town, and there's nothing she wants more. But they're too expensive. Then a local merchant sponsors a treasure hunt with a bicycle as the prize.

Vaughn researched the time period in the library’s Heritage Room and Archives.

“The folks up there are very patient and helpful," she said. "And if you look carefully, you’ll see a couple of familiar names in my book. Thomas and Dorcas (named after employees Thomas Hutchens and Dorcas Raunich) are two of my heroes.

“Susanna Leberman helped me to dig out some wonderful pictures from the Archives. She and Ranee Pruitt wrote the historical note at the end of my book. Ranee read an earlier version of my book and continually encouraged me to ‘do something with that story.’ I am sad that she never got to see the published book.”

Pruitt, who died in December 2011, wrote a book, “Eden of the South,” that Vaughn said “was full of wonderful information.”

Vaughn said she was inspired to write about Huntsville in the 1890s after researching a street name, Lily Flagg Road.

“When I found out that the esteemed Lily Flagg was a cow, I laughed," she said. "Then I dug. What about her? And what else was going on in Huntsville during that time? I found out that the Spring City Cycling Club began in 1892, the same year that General Moore threw his big shindig to honor his cow. I added Clara to the mix, and my story was born.”