Born and raised on the American River in Sacramento, Wendy Voorsanger has long held an intense interest in the historical women of California. She started her career in the Silicon Valley, writing about technology trends and innovations for newspapers, magazines, and Fortune 100 companies. 

She currently manages SheIsCalifornia.net, a blog dedicated to chronicling the accomplishments of California women through history. Her debut historical novel, Prospects of a Woman will be published in October 2020 (She Writes Press); an excerpt entitled “Shifting in California” won 1st place in the California Writers Club short story contest and is published in the Fault Zone: Shift: An Anthology of Stories

She earned a B.A. in Journalism from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo and an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is a member of the Castro Writers’ Cooperative, the Lit Camp Advisory Board, and the San Mateo Public Library Literary Society. 

In addition to being an author, Wendy has worked as a lifeguard, ski instructor, and radio disc jockey. Wendy lives in Northern California with her husband and two sons. 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, who’s struck gold on the American River. She soon realizes her husband is not the man she thought—and neither is her father, who abandons them shortly after they arrive. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity. 

She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious Californio Don. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness. 

Prospects of a Woman is a fresh, authentic retelling of the West that explores women’s contributions in California and shatters the stereotypes of the typical hard-boiled novel of the West that has captured the American imagination for over a century.

TALKING POINTS

  • ERA ratification: This year marks the 100th anniversary of passing the 19th Amendment. With renewed hope in passing the ERA, Prospects of a Woman shows the historical precedent of how women gained economic and social power during the California gold rush through progressive laws granting them divorce, property, and child custody rights—something many readers today, with #MeToo prominent in the news, and renewed hope in the Equal Rights Amendment ratification, will be interested to learn about.
  • Wendy can speak about the important topic of women’s impact on California throughout history.
  • Award-winning writing: An excerpt of Prospects of a Woman won 1st place in the California Writers Club Short Story Contest and was published in the Fault Zone: Shift: An Anthology of Stories

TIMELY TIE-INS

  • Romance Awareness Month – August
  • Self-Care Month – September
  • California Admission Day —September 9
  • National Book Month– October
  • National Storytelling Day – October 5
  • National No Bra Day – October 13
  • Conflict Resolution Day– October 15 
  • Evaluate your Life Day– October 19
  • National Work and Family Month – October
  • National Novel Writing Month – November
  • National Author’s Day – November 1
  • Indie Author Day – November 7
  • I Love to Write Day – November 15

PRAISE

Prospects of a Woman is a fascinating, complex, dark, and beautiful novel of women and sexuality on the frontier of the California gold strike days.” 
— Douglas Glover, two-time Governor General’s award-winning author of Elle

“I loved this surprisingly feminist story of Gold Rush-era California! Elizabeth Parker is a heroine to fall in love with–plucky, sensuous, courageous and clear-eyed. It is a rare and unusual pleasure to—finally—have a narrative of the Gold Rush told from a woman’s point of view.”
—Janis Cooke Newman, author of Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln

Prospects of a Woman is thoughtful and thrilling. The landscape of California – the rough-scrabble mining towns, the wildness of the river and woods — sings on every page.”
—Alex Myers, author of the novels Revolutionary and Divide

Prospects of a Woman is a riveting read about a woman who comes to California during the Gold Rush determined to escape societal constraints, find love and strike it rich. As a woman in a man’s world, she faces innumerable challenges but manages to rise above them. This is a bold, rollicking and satisfying tale, one that is hard to put down.”
—Frances Dinkelspiel, award-winning journalist and author of the best-selling books, Tangled Vines and Towers of Gold