Shirley at desk

Shirley DicKard is a fourth generation Californian who lives in the Sierra Nevada gold country of Northern California.  She is currently writing a novel inspired by the life of her Great Grandmother Emily Hoppin who came to California soon after the 1849 Gold Rush.  Drawing from family letters, Emily’s speeches and newspaper articles about her, Shirley started work on her first novel, The Desk.

Shirley was unexpectedly “visited” in a dream by her Great-Granddaughter Amisha from the future.  “My life is being created by the accumulation of your past and present actions,” she said.  “I too, am part of your story.”

The Desk, now a blend of historical fiction, memoir and science fantasy, tells of a secret held deep within a small oak desk that unites the past, present and future, as three women reach across time to impact each other and the earth they love.

Retired from her work as Registered Nurse and non-profit Executive Director, Shirley lives with her husband on their 1970’s back-to-the-land homestead where they grow their food, invite wild birds to linger, walk in the woods with grandchildren and dance together in the kitchen.  She loves the challenge of learning to play the cello and writing her first novel.

In 2014 she was called from retirement to serve as the Editor of The Camptonville Courier, a volunteer-published monthly newspaper that had been languishing for five months without an editor.  In an uncanny way, this unexpected development has found a place in her novel, making her wonder if she is writing a novel, or if the novel is writing her life.

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© All materials copyright Shirley DicKard, 2012 – 2013, except as otherwise noted.





  1. I’m so tickled to “find you” after all these years. I am a former classmate and member of Troop 278… Girl Scouts. Your father was our family Dr. I can’t wait to read all of your blog.(You could have the decency to at least look older!) LOL Cheryl Voeller

    1. Hi Cheryl,
      Yes, I remember you! Did you graduate from El Camino? Because our class of ’63 50th Reunion is next Saturday, and I don’t see your name. Did you go to another HS? And wasn’t your mother also one of Troop 278’s leaders – along with Doris Warner? What a small world!! I’ll see if I can email you directly. I hope you’ll enjoy the blog – random thoughts, mainly centered on the book I’m writing and the landscape of California. I’d love your feedback when you can.

  2. I finally took the time to return to your “blog” and am so intrigued by the additions since my last visit (the book stories and the discovery of more information on your great-grandmother), and am so looking forward to reading about what’s next. And I can’t wait for the book to be finished! I’m hooked already.

    1. Thanks, Linda. Keep asking me about it. It’s what keeps me moving forward…hopefully to completion this year! I’m discovering new things almost every day about my Great Grandmother that mysteriously tie in with my future “great granddaughter” and the book’s themes.

  3. It’s very great to see you online, and best wishes for a fascinating novel. Please do share a snippet, perhaps a bit of one of Emily’s “speeches”, so intriguing !

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