Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Blog Tour Q&A with Pat Wahler, Author of I am Mrs. Jesse James

Please join me in welcoming Pat Wahler to Let Them Read Books! Pat is touring the blogosphere with her new historical novel, I am Mrs. Jesse James, and I recently had a chance to ask her a few questions about bringing her heroine to life on the pages. Read on and enter to win a paperback copy of I am Mrs. Jesse James!

A penny for a promise will change her life forever.

For Jesse James, the war will never be over. For Zee Mimms, the war is only the beginning.

The long, bloody Civil War is finally at an end when Zee Mimms, the dutiful daughter of a Missouri preacher, is tasked with nursing her cousin, Jesse James, back to health after he suffers a near-fatal wound. During Jesse’s long convalescence, the couple falls in love, but Jesse’s resentment against the Federals runs deep. He has scores to settle. For him, the war will never be over.

Zee is torn between deferring to her parents’ wishes and marrying for security or marrying for love and accepting the hard realities of life with an outlaw―living under an assumed name and forever on the run. For her, the choice she makes means the war is only beginning.


Hi Pat! Thanks so much for visiting Let Them Read Books!

Thank you so much for allowing me the opportunity of meeting your readers, and providing such thought-provoking questions.  

Most Americans know who Jesse James is, but not many could tell you the name of his wife. What inspired you to tell Zerelda "Zee" Mimms's story?

I’m from Missouri, the home state of Jesse James, and here there are references to him everywhere. Yet nothing satisfied my curiosity about what his personal life might have been like. I knew he had a wife and children and couldn’t help wondering how Jesse’s activities affected them. In a quest for answers, I discovered very little information on Zee. That sparked the idea to write her story.

What kind of research did you do to piece Zee's story together and bring her voice to life?

I immersed myself in everything I could find on Zee and Jesse. Some of it came from fairly reliable sources such as census records or well-researched historical accounts. Other things were more suspect, like reflections of family or friends, often colored to cast a flattering light. Even newspaper accounts were often skewed, especially after Jesse made a powerful friend in the editor of a Missouri newspaper. Nevertheless, I read it all and used that information to form my own picture of Zee. Then I held that image to portray her life, imagining how she might have reacted to her circumstances while staying as true as possible to matters of record.     

Did you come across anything in your research that surprised you?

There were several things that came as a surprise. One of them was the length of time it took Jesse to recover from his war wounds (Zee nursed him back to health), although there is still debate among historians over whether the extended recovery was a ruse devised by Jesse and his family to protect him from being accused of additional crimes. That brings me to another surprise. There is a fair amount of disagreement to this day about what is truth and what is fiction in the life of Jesse James.

What was the most challenging aspect of writing this story?

As you might guess, a lack of primary sources and contradictory information created obstacles in my research. Yet from a novelist’s perspective, this also brought opportunities and gave me plenty of room to portray Zee’s character.

Do you have a favorite scene in the book?

Although tragic circumstances were involved, my favorite scene to write occurred at the home where Jesse grew up. I don’t want to spoil the story by saying more than that. However, I believe the scene revealed Zee’s core of determination and grit.

What do you hope readers take away from Zee's story?

I found Zee to be a loyal and loving woman--very devoted to her family and the people she cared about. She didn’t hesitate to help a neighbor or put the needs of others over her own. Yet she wasn’t afraid to step outside the safety of what her culture expected her to do when necessary. That’s not so different from strong women of today, is it?

What are you working on now?

As I write these words, I’m in final edits for a Christmas-themed collection of short stories, essays, and poetry, Let Your Heart Be Light: A Celebration of Christmas, releasing on October 2.

I’ve also started work on a new novel inspired by the true story of a young Missouri woman during the Civil War. I can’t wait to share it!

I am Mrs. Jesse James is on a blog tour!

About the Author:

Pat Wahler is an award-winning writer who aims to pen stories a reader will savor. She lives in Missouri with her family, including a Peek-a-poo pup named Winston; and Bogey, a tabby with an attitude. A fan of good books, history, humor, animals, and the arts (her dream job would combine all of these); Pat draws inspiration from family, friends, and the critters who supervise her time at the keyboard.

A frequent contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, Sasee Magazine, and Not Your Mother’s Book anthologies; her work has also appeared in Reader’s Digest, Storyteller Magazine, and other publications.

Pat is thrilled to announce the release of her debut novel, I AM MRS. JESSE JAMES, in August, 2018. This story of love, loss, and redemption is based on true events and told from the point of view of Zee James, wife of the infamous outlaw. She is also the co-author of a children’s picture book, MIDNIGHT, THE ONE-EYED CAT, releasing in September, 2018. Get ready for Pat’s Christmas-themed collection of short stories, essays, and poetry titled LET YOUR HEART BE LIGHT: A CELEBRATION OF CHRISTMAS, releasing October, 2018.

For more information, please visit Pat Wahler’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitterPinterestGoodreads, and Bookbub.


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of I Am Mrs. Jesse James! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 12th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
I Am Mrs. Jesse James


  1. Thank you so much for being such a wonderful host and helping me celebrate release day for I am Mrs. Jesse James! I hope readers enjoy reading her story as much as I enjoyed writing it. :-)

  2. Great interview, thank you Jenny & Pat! And thank you for hosting Pat's blog tour!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

  3. This looks wonderful -- I love stories of the women behind famous/infamous men. I'm really intrigued by James -- having come across him and Missouri in my research for my novel -- so I'm looking forward to learning more about him and the era!

    1. I'm looking forward to learning more about your novel!


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