William Wresch

Biography

I have three sets of books here. The first is an alternative history of the US, envisioning how things might have gone had the French prevailed in the French and Indian War. That series comes from some personal experiences. I have canoed sections of the Fox, and driven along its banks. I have followed the voyageur route from the Sault to Quebec and traveled from Green Bay to New Orleans by car and by boat. My wife and I have spent many happy days on Mackinac Island and in Door County.

The Jessica Thorpe series is very different. It takes place in the tiny town of Amberg, Wisconsin, a place where I used to live. I wanted to describe that town and its troubles. Initially the novel involved a militia take over of the town, and it was called "Two Angry Men." But both men were predictable and boring. I had decided to have the story narrated by the town bartender - Jessica - and I soon realized she was the most interesting character in the book. She became the lead in the Jessica Thorpe series.

I restarted the series with a fight over a proposed water plant with Jessica balancing environmental rights and business rights. I put Jessica right in the middle of a real problem we are experiencing here in Wisconsin (and most other places). How badly does a tiny town need jobs? How much environmental damage should we accept?

Why does she go to Dubai in the next book? I spent a year teaching in Oman and wanted to reflect on that region and on my understanding of Islam. My daughter did two tours in Iraq, and my son did a tour in the Gulf, so this is important to me and my family.

The resort I used for an inspiration in book 3 has finally reopened - again. Great news. I proposed to my wife there. There is no history of human trafficking there, but it certainly exists elsewhere, even here in rural Wisconsin. I know people are working hard to stop it, and I salute them.

The next two books reflect on some American history Ever since I read DeVoto's histories of the west, I have been interested in the Oregon Trail and the discovery of the Mississippi. There was so much more to the Oregon Trail than I knew, even though I have seen much of it. Writing Jessica's Oregon Trail book let me reread important elements of that history. As for the French and the Mississippi, I live just a few miles from where the Fox joins the Wisconsin. The sad looking lock that connects the two rivers is still there. As for the Iraq War elements, as I said, my daughter served two tours in Iraq. I wanted to reflect a bit on her experience, although the quotations in the book are fictionalized.

The final books have multiple themes - small town life, the way social media is debasing our lives, the threat of climate change, and just plain greed. The title comes from a trip my wife and I took to Glacier National Park.. We wanted to see the glaciers before they were all gone. Too late. We should have gone 50 years ago. It is a beautiful park, and I recommend a visit, but you won't see any glaciers. I had Jessica try to respond for us. As Jessica does her best in these circumstances, I hope she represents what most of us are trying to do - address real problems with care and concern for humanity. I fear things will get harsh fast.

The third series is an experiment for me. I like to read mysteries. Could I write one? I wrote two while trying to create a new character. I kept this series in Amberg too. I guess I just like revisiting my time there..

Smashwords Interview

What motivated you to become an indie author?
My son introduced me to alternative history. I was fascinated by the prospect of looking at how history might have been. I found this to be especially true as I read about early American history and the efforts of Washington to expand the boundaries of the British colonies over the mountains. Had he and the British lost, we might have a very different continent. I thought it would be an interesting story to tell
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
What amazes me about Smashwords is the ease with which you can present your work to readers. The website does all the formatting and all the presentation. It even counts the downloads so you get a sense for whether people are reading your books. I really appreciate what the developers have done for authors.
Read more of this interview.

Series

Kat Johnson Mysteries
After twenty years in the Army, Kat retires to northern Wisconsin. She purchases an old fishing lodge and starts a new business - Northwoods Experiences. It is to be a weekend retreat for women to enjoy outdoor experiences from fishing to canoeing to wildlife photography and hunting. It is a successful and interesting business, but it is interrupted by crimes, some of which are local, and some of which take her back to her days in the army. A former major in the military police, she brings particular skills to the mysteries that come her way. She needs those skills as she travels the back roads of Wisconsin and the hot spots of the world.
Jessica Thorpe novels
A high school dropout with two kids before age eighteen, Jessica tends bar in a Wisconsin town so small it is often left off the state map. But she has courage, and brains, and a sense of right and wrong. It also doesn't hurt that she is attractive. That combination brings people to her - sometimes with good results, sometimes not.
The Canadian Civil War
Here's a question - what if France had won the French and Indian War? Twice Washington marched militia over the mountains to take the Ohio Valley from France, and twice he lost. He was not the only losing general on the English side. A minor adjustment at Quebec and the French might still control all the lands west of the Appalachians. We might still have a United States, but it would be cramped along the Eastern Seaboard. This series accepts that version of history and explores life in a very different Canada - a powerful Canada with a capital in Green Bay and struggles between the Catholic North and Protestant Louisiana.

Books

The Girl Who Slept with a Nuke
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 80,010. Language: English. Published: July 18, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
It’s a tiny county park in the farthest corner of Wisconsin. Two men are dead and a deputy sheriff is badly wounded. The dead men? One is a mystery. The other is Kat’s former commanding officer in Germany. The FBI wants to talk to Kat about her connection to the Colonel and about her time monitoring the nuclear mines in the Fulda Gap. She needs answers too - in Germany.
Death Out of Season
Series: Kat Johnson Mysteries. Price: Free! Words: 76,070. Language: English. Published: July 14, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Mystery & detective » Women Sleuths
A woman lies dead on an old logging road in Wisconsin, rifle in her hand. Deer season has just ended. It’s possible she was hit by a stray bullet fired at a deer. But Kat thinks otherwise. As Kat searches for the woman’s killer, she discovers the victim is much more complicated than initially thought. She also discovers some think the killer is Kat herself.
Waters of the Kalahari
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels. Price: Free! Words: 89,400. Language: English. Published: March 16, 2020. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Erotic
Book 7: Southern Africa has been enduring drought for three years. The World Bank asks Jessica to help with an exploration project. Can water be found under the Kalahari Desert? Jessica agrees to help. It is her chance to explore Africa and do some good. She helps put in 90 wells. The project is a huge success. Then she loses everything, and must restart her life.
The Last Glacier
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 6. Price: Free! Words: 91,080. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
When the local water bottling plant is threatened with closure, Jessica flies to Switzerland to meet with the owners. She discovers the local plant is just a pawn in a fight for control over a huge Swiss corporation. After a hike through the Alps to see a melting glacier, Jessica joins the fight, and in the process gains a new husband, a castle, and a role in a social media battle.
River of Stars
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 5. Price: Free! Words: 86,000. Language: English. Published: March 18, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult
Jessica agrees to help with another movie. This film stars six women who served in Iraq and are now canoeing the route used by Jolliet and Marquette as they discovered the Mississippi. As they paddle hundreds of miles, the women reflect on their time in Iraq and their life since their return, while Jessica helps with the film and searches for love.
The Greatest Love Story Never Told
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 4. Price: Free! Words: 85,770. Language: English. Published: February 8, 2019. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Adult, Fiction » Romance » Erotic
After her husband is killed, Jessica retreats to her resort in Galena, Illinois. While she is deep in mourning, a Hollywood film company comes to the resort and invites her to join them making a film about Narcissa Whitman, the woman who helped create the Oregon Trail. Jessica travels the Oregon Trail with them. Along the way she finds new love and new direction in her life.
The Girls in the Club
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 93,870. Language: English. Published: September 21, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » Erotic
Jessica returns to Wisconsin and takes a job at a large resort only to discover young women in the Gentleman’s Club are being held against their will. As she fights for their freedom, she loses her own and becomes the mistress of a Mafia Don. As he expands his business, she becomes his business analyst – and his lover. She needs the help of the police, but faces arrest herself.
Disappearance in the Desert
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 92,720. Language: English. Published: August 16, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
A former lover, the president of a Swiss bottling company, comes for Jessica. He proposes, and she travels with him to Dubai to be his wife and to help set up a new branch of the company. But she is not the only woman who wants him. Tricked into visiting a desert village, she is held while the other woman plots to take her fiancée. Jessica finds a new man who may help her - or marry her.
One Angry Town: A Tiny Town Fights Over Water
Series: Jessica Thorpe novels, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 88,120. Language: English. Published: May 3, 2018. Categories: Fiction » Romance » General
Jessica Thorpe, bartender in a tiny Wisconsin town, wants to help her town land a new Swiss factory. It will bring jobs. But it also threatens the local water supply. As the town forms sides and begins battling, Jessica flies to Switzerland looking to save the project – and the peace. Two men are crucial to the project. She must convince one of them to complete the project
The Canadian Civil War: Volume 5 - Carbines and Calumets
Series: The Canadian Civil War. Price: Free! Words: 78,710. Language: English. Published: December 14, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada
In this final book of the series, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Colorado secede from Canada and fighting begins. Shawn travels to New Orleans to learn more about the rebellion and is nearly killed as he investigates involvement by an American company seeking to profit from the war. Final efforts at peace are made as people choose between carbines and calumets.
The Canadian Civil War: Volume 4 - Mississippi Beast
Series: The Canadian Civil War. Price: Free! Words: 83,670. Language: English. Published: November 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada
In this fourth volume, unknown attackers begin launching assaults in Green Bay and nearly kill Claude Jolliet. But the biggest problems arise from a flood on the Mississippi that inundates the primary shipping and supply center of Canada. Elise and Shawn have 14 days to get systems there running again before the economy of the country collapses.
The Canadian Civil War: Volume 3 - West to the Wall
Series: The Canadian Civil War, Book 3. Price: Free! Words: 83,760. Language: English. Published: September 5, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada, Fiction » Historical » Western & American frontier
(5.00 from 1 review)
This third book in the series mixes accounts of early explorations in west and attempts to reach the Pacific through the “Wall” of Rocky Mountains, with an ongoing description of the breakdown of Canada into northern and southern sections.
The Canadian Civil War Volume 2- The Huguenots Arrive
Series: The Canadian Civil War, Book 2. Price: Free! Words: 104,130. Language: English. Published: February 20, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » Canada
In this second volume of the series, the French history of the continent is expanded to tell the story of the Huguenots. As in volume 1, some of the early history is an accurate portrayal of the Huguenot exodus from France. But this is also a work of fiction -- in this case a description of the growing conflict between their values and the values of the Catholic North.
The Canadian Civil War: Volume 1 - Birth of a Nation
Series: The Canadian Civil War, Book 1. Price: Free! Words: 100,920. Language: English. Published: February 16, 2013. Categories: Fiction » Historical » USA
(4.00 from 1 review)
In 1755 France controlled most of the North American continent. What if they still did? This novel explores the French period from two perspectives – an historically accurate description of Jolliet’s discovery of the Mississippi, coupled with a hypothetical contemporary view of “Canada.” Based in Green Bay, this Canada struggles between the Catholic north and Huguenot Louisiana.