Happy Sunday! Katy Lee here with a message from Bestselling Inspirational Author, Deeanne Gist. Deeanne has a new book out just in time for the holidays that would make a great Christmas present. (Just saying.) But first, let’s put Deeanne on the line and hear what she has to say…
We have an old rotary pay phone hanging on a wall in our gameroom. I’d always get tickled when teenagers came over and asked how to use it. Yet I found myself in that exact same position while researching my new release, Love on the Line. It’s about a turn-of-the-century switchboard operator and a Texas Ranger who goes undercover as a telephone repairman.
The only exposure I’d had to switchboards was from the old Laugh-In episodes with Lilly Tomlin (dating myself here). Suffice it to say, I had a lot to learn. Not just about switchboards, but about how telephones worked back in the day. Since my book is set in a rural Texastown, there were party lines. I wasn’t sure how those worked either.
Then, of course, my hero was an undercover telephone repairman. So, I also had to learn how to repair the phones, string the lines, climb a telephone pole, etc. It was quite the education. Did you know they didn’t use safety straps back then? The men simply climbed the pole, then wrapped one leg around it to hold them steady while they did their work. Crazy!
And the telephone operator did much more than connect two parties together. She served as News Central and answered a huge range of questions. What’s playing at the opera house? Who came in on the afternoon train? Where’s the doc? Are the streets outside of town dry or muddy? I lost my cow, will you find out if anyone has seen her?
Talk about having to know everybody’s business! And the party lines were a hoot. Several people would share the same line. Each family had a specific ring. For example, the Smiths might have three short rings. But the Jones had two shorts and one long. Even still, everyone on your line heard the ring and if they wished to pick up and listen in, they certainly could.
Bottom line, and The Unlocked Secret: I no longer rib the kids when they don’t know how to use our rotary. I simply show them how it works and feel rewarded that I’m passing along a little slice of history to this generation of techno-wizards.
Deeanne, it is a treat to have you “ring us up” today and give us a glimpse into your research for Love on the Line. Thank you for joining us Scribes!
And now, here is a little bit about Love on the Line:
Rural switchboard operator Georgie Gail is proud of her independence in a man’s world…which makes it twice as vexing when the telephone company sends a man to look over her shoulder.
Dashing Luke Palmer is more than he appears though. He’s a Texas Ranger working undercover to infiltrate a notorious gang of train robbers. Repairing telephones and tangling with this tempestuous woman is the last thing he wants to do. But when his stakeout puts Georgie in peril, he realizes more than his job is on the line.
Readers who want to connect with Deeanne Gist can find her at http://www.deeannegist.com/ or can join her Circle of Friends on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/#!/deesfriends and you can buy her latest here.
Question: Would you be willing to climb a pole for research?