from author’s website , in her own words 

I grew up on the American River in Sacramento, California, and started my career in the Silicon Valley writing about technology. A few of my other features include wearing my novel at Burningman, and publications in The San Francisco ChronicleThe Marin Independent Journal,  Numero CinqMediumWomen’s eNewsOutdoor Magazine, and Hunger Mountain. I’ve an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. from California Polytechnic State University. I’ve worked as a lifeguard, ski instructor, and radio disc jockey. I’m a member of the Castro Writers’ Cooperative, the Lit Camp Advisory Board, the Historical Novel Society and the San Mateo Public Library Literary Society.

A fanatical enthusiasm for California history led me on a quest to discover women’s contributions in building the West. The result is my debut novel—Prospects of a Woman. An excerpt entitled “Shifting in California” won 1st place in the California Writer’s Club short story contest and is published in the Fault Zone Shift Anthology

My blog—She is California—chronicles women throughout history who helped build California, shattering that old male western stereotype of the hapless barmaid waiting around a dusty saloon for a brave cowboy or sheriff to rescue her. Take care of her. Make her an honest woman. Not so in California. In reality, California women weren’t waiting around for a man, but were working to build the fast-growing society of the West. They were fiercely independent. Powerful. Far from hapless. ​The roots of California women go deep, growing out of the social, economic, and political climate upon statehood in 1850.​ 


The story of one woman’s quest to carve out a life for herself in the liberal and bewildering society that emerged during the California gold rush frenzy.

Elisabeth Parker comes to California from Massachusetts in 1849 with her new husband, Nate, to reunite with her father, who’s struck gold on the American River. But she soon realizes her husband is not the man she thought—and neither is her father, who abandons them shortly after they arrive. As Nate struggles with his sexuality, Elisabeth is forced to confront her preconceived notions of family, love, and opportunity. She finds comfort in corresponding with her childhood friend back home, writer Louisa May Alcott, and spending time in the company of a mysterious California. Armed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance, she sets out to determine her role in building the West, even as she comes to terms with the sacrifices she must make to achieve independence and happiness. A gripping and illuminating window into life in the Old West, Prospects of a Woman is the story of one woman’s passionate quest to carve out a place for herself in the liberal and bewildering society that emerged during the California gold rush frenzy.


2021 IPPY Awards Gold Winner in West-Pacific – Best Regional Fiction
2021 International Book Awards Winner in Best Cover Design: Fiction
2021 International Book Awards Winner in Best New Fiction
2021 International Book Awards Finalist in Fiction: Historical
2021 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards Finalist in Fiction – Historical (Event/Era)
2021 15th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards Winner in Book Interior Design: Fiction
2021 15th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards Winner in Regional Fiction: West
2021 15th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards Winner in Western Fiction
2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Winner in Regional (Fiction)
2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards Finalist in First Novel (Over 90,000 words)
2021 Independent Press Awards Winner in Western Fiction

“Alive with historical details, intriguing characters, and resplendent natural beauty, Prospects of a Woman is a lusty, intelligent, and captivating portrait of a woman and of early California.”—Foreword Reviews

“A captivating gold-rush tale told from the viewpoint of an indomitable woman. Voorsanger creates a memorable hero in Elisabeth as well as a vivid depiction of the rough-and-tumble frontier life of mid-19th-century California, which is characterized by equal parts boundless optimism and humiliating despair. The author’s language is evocative and beautifully apt both to period and subject.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Anyone with an interest in women’s roles in history will find Prospects of a Woman a worthwhile read.”—San Francisco Book Review

Prospects of a Woman is fascinating in its complexity; it is empowering and the author makes sure the reader gets a rush of excitement as they turn pages. This one deserves the prime spot on your bookshelf!”—Readers’ Favorite Five-Star Review

“I enjoyed this look into a woman’s life during the Gold Rush. It was refreshing to learn that somewhere in America, women were moving beyond the tightly-laced Victorian lives women were forced into.”—Midwest Book Review

Prospects of a Woman is a fascinating, complex, dark, and beautiful novel of women and sexuality on the frontier of the California gold strike days.”—Douglas Glover, award-winning author of Elle

“Prospects of a Woman is a riveting read about a woman who comes to California during the Gold Rush determined to escape societal constraints, find love, and strike it rich. As a woman in a man’s world, she faces innumerable challenges but manages to rise above them. This is a bold, rollicking, and satisfying tale, one that is hard to put down.”—Frances Dinkelspiel, award-winning journalist and author of the best-selling books Tangled Vines and Towers of Gold

“I loved this surprisingly feminist story of Gold Rush–era California! Elisabeth Parker is a heroine to fall in love with—plucky, sensuous, courageous, and clear-eyed. It is a rare and unusual pleasure to—finally—have a narrative of the Gold Rush told from a woman’s point of view.”—Janis Cooke Newman, author of Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln

Prospects of a Woman is thoughtful and thrilling. The landscape of California—the rough-scrabble mining towns, the wildness of the river and woods—sings on every page.”—Alex Myers, author of Revolutionary and Divide

Prospects of a Woman may be set in 1850s California but its stalwart lead, Elisabeth Parker, is a heroine for our times. She forges her way through an inhospitable world of men, determined to live independently and find a love that will be her very own. Wendy Voorsanger has created a character so charged with imagination and spirit she will lay claim to the hearts of all her readers.”—Sophfronia Scott, author of Unforgivable Love and All I Need to Get By


Author visits with Wendy Voorsanger are available via