The Whip, the Extraordinary Story of Charley Parkhurst

The Whip coverI recently read a fascinating novel, The Whip, by Karen Kondazian. The book is inspired by the true story of Charley Parkhurst (1812-1879) a renowned stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo. It was not discovered until Charley’s death that “he” in fact was a woman.

As a young woman in Rhode Island, Charlotte Parkhurst fell in love with a runaway slave and had his child. The destruction of her family drove her west to California, dressed as a man, to track the killer.

Charley had an extraordinary life living as a man. She killed a famous outlaw, had a secret love affair, and lived with a housekeeper who, unaware of her true sex, fell in love with her. Charley was the first woman to vote in America (as a man). Her grave lies in Watsonville, California.

The Whip is Karen Kondazian’s debut novel. She is an award winning theatre actress and has starred in over fifty televKarenision shows and films, including the role of Kate Holliday in the TV movie, The Shootout at the OK Corral. Kondazian is also author of The Actor’s Encyclopedia of Casting Directors.

Karen Kondazian discusses “The Whip” Novel with Peter Robinson

Video filmed at San Francisco’s Wells Fargo Museum in an original Concord Stagecoach– with NPR Peter Robinson interviewing Karen Kondazian on her novel, The Whip, based on the true story of Charlotte ‘Charley’ Parkhurst (1812-1879) (18) minutes)

Watch The Whip Audio Book Trailer

Video filmed in Los Angeles at Deyan Audio Services -producer of Audio Book- on the making of The Whip by Karen Kondazian– with narrator Robin Weigert  (Emmy nominee and star of HBO’s Deadwood–  played Calamity Jane)  and Karen Kondazian, author.

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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Well there’s a shocker. Howdy pard. Sounds fun.

  2. Hi Heidi, Love being apart of your Blog…Thanks so much for inviting me and ‘Charley’!
    warmly, Karen

  3. Great story (read it a couple of months ago) of a strong woman who didn’t buckle when tragedy struck, but moved on with grit and determination.

    • I love what you wrote Eunice….thank you. I wanted Charley to inspire and teach us how, when tragedy strikes, to somehow pull up our bootstraps, and out of the pain– to try to make our lives an inspiration to others on how to survive what life throws at us.

  4. I’ve known about Charlie Parkhurst, but I have yet to read the book. It’s now on my To Be Read list!

  5. As a biographical author, I am not easily impressed with fictionalized renditions of life stories. Karen Kondazian really hit the tartget with this one. The Whip is an extraordinary tale, which is exceedingly well crafted by the author. It is a real western page-turner.
    — Joyce B. Lohse

  6. Thank you Joyce for your wonderful words…Your ‘Baby Doe’ is not a bad page turner either!

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