Devin King | Reporter
October 9; 1:15 p.m.
Factory owning gangsters, gun wielding ladies and carrier pigeons were just some of the parts of what the author of “Girl Waits With Gun” spoke about as part of Lindenwood’s speaker series.
Author Amy Stewart’s presentation was part of her book tour for “Girl Waits With Gun,” which is a fictional novel based on the true events that happened to three sisters in the 1915. The book was officially published last month, making its release 100 years after the events occurred.
The oldest sister in the book, Constance Kopp, was one of the first female sheriffs in the US, and is the main character in Stewart’s novel. Constance and her sisters lived on the outskirts of Paterson, New Jersey.[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“It’s really Constance’s story,” said Stewart. Stewart described Constance as a tall woman that “towered over almost all men” and looked over her sisters since they lived by themselves, which was strange for the time they lived in.[/pullquote]
During research for Stewart’s last book “The Drunken Botanist,” she was looking through digitized newspapers from the 1910s when she came across articles about a silk factory owner named Henry Kaufmann harassing the Kopp sisters. Stewart said that during this time, she started researching about the Kopp’s instead of finishing research on the “Drunken Botanist.”[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“A lot of the articles were poking fun at them [Kopp sisters],” said Stewart. “In fact, ‘Girl Waits With Gun’ was the name of one of the headlines,” which belonged to an article reporting on one night when Constance tried to ambush Kaufmann by waiting at a corner of a street, with a gun in her handbag.”[/pullquote]
In addition to doing research by reading old newspapers, Stewart also traveled to Paterson to see what the place was like. She also tracked down family members of the characters in the book, via Ancestry.com, including the youngest Kopp sister’s son.
Even though Stewart did a lot of research on true facts for her book, it is still a fictional novel. Stewart added fiction to characters and events that had facts about them that she was not able to find in her research. For instance, Stewart gave the second Kopp sister a hobby of taking care of carrier pigeons, since “she seemed like a woman that didn’t liked humans but loved her animals.”
Despite the serious nature of the events surrounding the Kopp sisters, the novel has a fairly lighthearted narrative.[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“I don’t intentionally try to write [lighthearted],” said Stewart, adding that she wants her books to be fun to read.[/pullquote]
The book store Main Street Books was at every speaker event this semester to sell the books of the speakers. Co-owner of the store, Emily Hall, said that her personal interest was particularly invested in Stewart’s novel.[pullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]“I’m invested because I helped bring her [Stewart] to the Speaker Series,” said Hall. “It’s [Girl Waits With Gun] very along the lines of my interests.”[/pullquote]
Students that attended the event were able to relate Constance story to their personal lives, such as Early Education major Rebecca Peters, who said, “It’s important to find and teach stories like Constance’s because it’s history that will be lost.”