16 March 2016

Guest Post: Amy Stewart

Amy Stewart by Terrence McNally Photo: Terrence McNally

Now the Girl Waits With Gun Blog Tour has rolled to Crime Thriller Fella, let’s talk about Constance Kopp…

She towers over most men, has no interest in marriage or domestic affairs, and has been isolated from the world since a family secret sent her and her sisters from the city to the country fifteen years before. When a powerful, ruthless factory owner runs down their buggy, a dispute over damages turns into a war of bricks, bullets, and threats as he unleashes his gang on their farm. The sheriff enlists her help, and it turns out that Constance has a knack for outwitting the criminal element, which might just take her back out into the world and onto a new path in life.

Constance is a larger than life character, to be sure - all the more remarkable, then, that she was a real life person. Author Amy Stewart has taken Constance - and her smart siblings - and turned the story of America’s first woman Deputy Sheriff at the beginning of the 20th Century into the first of a new series of novels for Scribe.

In this Guest Post, Amy - the award-winning author of six novels - tells us about the obscure historical feud that inspired Girl Waits With Gun…

9781925228571_72dpiWhile researching my last book, The Drunken Botanist, I ran across a story about a man named Henry Kaufman who was arrested for smuggling tainted gin. I thought I should do a little more investigation to see if Henry Kaufman went on to do anything else interesting.

That’s when I found an article in the New York Times from 1915 about a man named Henry Kaufman who ran his car into a horse-drawn carriage driven by these three sisters, Constance, Norma, and Fleurette Kopp. They got into a conflict over payment for the damages, and it escalated from there. The sisters received kidnapping threats, shots were fired at their house, and they were generally tormented for almost a year.

I never did figure out if this Henry Kaufman was the same one who was arrested for gin smuggling, but I kept digging into the story of the Kopp sisters. Once I compiled a short stack of newspaper clippings, I thought, “Well, surely somebody has written a book about the Kopp sisters. At least a little local history book, or a children’s book, or something.”

I was amazed to find out that nothing had been written about them at all. There was no book, no Wikipedia page—nothing. They’d been completely forgotten about. I reconstructed their life stories from scratch. A lot of people write historical fiction about well-known figures from another era, but I think it’s a very different thing to pluck someone from obscurity and put the facts together for the first time.

The result is Girl Waits with Gun—the first in a series, all based on the real-life story of the Kopp sisters.


Girl Waits With Gun is available now in paperback, published by Scribe.