River of January did not happen by chance. With a life-long passion for things of the past, author Gail Chumbley acquired her degree in American History from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. Shortly after, she completed her teaching credential and began a decades-long career in history education.
Along the way Gail met and married Chad Chumbley. He introduced the rudiments of his parents remarkable story as part of their courtship. Luckily for Gail, Helen and Chum collected mountains of mementos throughout their extraordinary careers, all safely stored in Chad's childhood home.
Over time the records made it out west, to Gail and Chad's home in the mountains. Three years ago, the book began the journey to fulfillment when Gail opened her laptop and dove into the project. She'd never written before and spent as much time revising the pages as composing. The new author quickly realized that it is much easier to talk about that "Great American Book," than slogging through the process.
River of January is written in a rather new literary genre, creative non-fiction. Rather than historic fiction, all of the episodes are driven by evidence, and the characters real. Also, the author took great pains to parallel Helen and Chum's lives to the events in America at the same time.
River of January became a labor of love. Plainly, Helen and Chum's extraordinary story deserved to be told and not left to scatter into the winds of time. Enjoy this telling of an uniquely American story.
Author, Gail Chumbley