You never know who you might meet in Cripple Creek, Colorado!
While I was in Cripple Creek in August to participate in the Gold Camp Days and Western Literature Festival, I made Wyatt Earp’s acquaintance through a program presented by his grandson, Wyatt Earp.
Then during a book signing at the Cripple Creek District Museum, I met Doc Susie, played by Hedy Boyce.
One thing is for certain, there’s never a dull moment in Cripple Creek. Even if after a full day of museum hopping and historical exploration, you’ve tuck yourself into your peaceful room at Carr Manor. The historic Cripple Creek High School repurposed as a lovely Bed & Breakfast is far too rich in history to be dull.
What fun it was to meet Hedy and chat with her about Doc Susie, the real life woman I feature as a fictional secondary character in The Bride Wore Blue, Book 3 in my Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series.
I was excited when Hedy agreed to an interview, to share a bit about one of her favorite historical Cripple Creek characters–Dr. Susan Anderson.
MONA: Welcome, Hedy! I’m delighted you’re with us today. And I’m excited to let my readers know more about Cripple Creek, its history and all the fun going’s-on there.
HEDY: Cripple Creek is such a neat town, steeped in history and there’s so much to learn. One thng I can say is that there’s always something going on in town.
MONA: What are some of the places and occasions where you slip into the role of Doc Susie?
HEDY: The annual graveyard tour–Mount Pisgah Speaks, the weekend ambiance “walk arounds” in town where I have the opportunity to speak to visitors from all over t he world, and talks to grade school children at local schools.
MONA: What led you to choose Doc Susie (Dr. Susan Anderson)?
HEDY: I have this connection with her. I can relate with her up-hill battle to be accepted as a female doctor in a man’s world. I compare it to my battle to get equal treatment for fight attendants in the late 60s. I was the first fight attendant who was able to get pregnant, have a child, and still keep my job.
MONA: What resources did you use in researching Doc Susie’s life and work for your role?
HEDY: There are a variety of books about Cripple Creek and Doc Susie, including Doc Susie: The True Story of a Country Physician in the Colorado Rockies by Virginia Cornell, Cripple Creek Days by Mabel Barbee Lee, Money Mountain: The Story of Cripple Creek Gold by Marshall Sprague, and The Doctor Wore Petticoats: Women Physicians of the Old West by Chris Enss. In Cripple Creek, there are several photos of her and a variety of information sources.
MONA: How did you choose your Doc Susie costume?
HEDY: There are several photos of her available in books, in Cripple Creek, and on the Internet, but I chose her gradualtion photo from medical school in Ann Arbor, Michigan as my model. I think that is how I see her in my mind’s eye.
MONA: What was one of the most surprising things you learned about Susan Anderson?
HEDY: There are several surprising things about Doc Susie. All had to do with her overcoming adversity. She wandered around in a dangerous world out west, however, she was an excellent marksman and always had a revolver in her doctor’s bag. If she came upon wild animals or ill-intentioned men, she was capable of dealing with it. But, above all else, she accomplished a lot, including beating TB and living to the ripe old age of ninety.
MONA: Is there a Doc Susie fact that especially endeared her to you?
HEDY: Her love for her brother and best friend, John.
Hedy, thank you for taking the time to sit with us a spell, and talk about Dr. Susan Anderson, a renowned woman, part of Cripple Creek history and one of my favorite real life women to write about.
Congratulations to Susan F, Jackie M, Renee J, Nicole L, and Tina T, who each won a signed copy of THE BRIDE WORE BLUE.