Biography for Naida West
Naida West, Ph.D. until recently lived alongside the Cosumnes River on a little ranch in California’s “Gold Country. That place, as well as the larger Sacramento area, is a primary setting in her three novels, which comprise her California Gold Trilogy.. 

Born in Idaho, she spent her early years in small towns and on farms, and ranches, often living with relatives. Among the many schools, she attended a one-room schoolhouse in Montana. Her relatives were Methodist, Mormon, Catholic and agnostic — all opinionated people. They included conscientious objectors, military patriots, alcoholics, and religious teetotalers. Politically they ranged from socialist to the farthest right. They raised sugar beets, potatoes, sheep, and cattle. They practiced law, the Christian ministry, and played piano bar. Naida stood back and observed. In all locations she wandered freely through open fields and hills and along streams, loving nature. Her greatest influence and inspiration came from her Scottish grandmother, Elizabeth Symon Smith (See Symon’s Daughter, Don Ian Smith, ed. By Naida West) 

In the eighth grade Naida and her siblings moved with their divorced mother to Carmel, California, a coastal town of spectacular beauty. The family had little money but her mother played piano bar and Naida worked after school and on weekends. From its beginning Carmel was a colony of artists and writers, some of them well known and still living in the 1950s when Naida was there. Additionally Naida benefited from exceptional teachers and the cosmopolitan but egalitarian ambiance of Carmel.

During high school Naida was an exchange student in Germany, and after high school graduation in Carmel she returned Germany where she interpreted German to English for the Indian government in Frankfurt. Returning to the U.S. she married, gave birth to her first child, and earned a B.A. from UC Berkeley. Her husband worked at the Capitol, so Naida moved there and, after her second child was born, earned her M,A. at Sacramento State. She participated in local issues and was elected to the San Juan School District board. After her third child was born, she earned a Ph.D. in sociology from UC Davis in 1979.  She says, “Babies sleep a lot when they first arrive, so after each baby I went back to school, took a lot of night classes, and had time to study. She continued to write poetry, a habit since age of 14. 
 
Naida has been a potato picker, house cleaner, waitress, secretary, interpreter, telephone operator, statistical analyst of violent criminals in California, and college teacher. Along with sociological writing she continued her creative writing. Advancement in academia proved impossible without moving her family, but her husband’s work was in Sacramento, so Naida changed careers. For a decade she worked as a lobbyist and consultant specializing in coastal issues. Then in the early 1990s she stopped all other work to write full-time. “Magically,” she says, “all of it flows into my writing.”

All of her books have won awards, and in May 2011, Rest for the Wicked won the Next Generation Indie Book Award for historical fiction. That award program is the only national, not-for-profit competition available for independently published books, similar to the Sundance Film Festival for independently produced films. 
 
Needing to be closer to medical facilities when her husband became ill, Naida now lives in Sacramento, a five-minute walk from the trails along the American River, where she continues to be inspired by nature. She expects to finish her memoir — Daughter of the West, perhaps offering the first half of it at the California State Fair Authors Booth, in 2018.

Naida negotiated and has managed the Authors Booth for over 20 years. She has also spoken at, or led, writer-conferences and workshops. A lively speaker, she has often addressed conferences and numerous groups, speaking about her books and about three fields of California history: Native American-EuroAmerican contact, Gold Rush and the Donner Party; and turn-of-the-century Gilded Age in Sacramento. 

How Naida West Became a Publisher  
In 1999, Naida turned down a contract by HarperCollins. At that time she was polishing her second book, which she had set aside to self-publish River of Red Gold. HarperCollins was the high bidder for publishing rights, offering to re-issue River of Red Gold and publish Eye of the Bearand any other book West would write in the series. But before Naida signed the contract she told H/C that nearly 10,000 copies of River had already been sold. The H/C marketing department advised that their estimated “sell-through” for that book would be 12,000 and there wasn’t enough money left in it for them. Therefore they limited their offer to Eye of the Bear and any book s following it. Naida recognized that a 12,000 sell-through estimate meant that H/C was not willing to spend enough money publicizing the book. She also doubted they would adequately publicize her other books, so, she delayed signing  the second offer while still polishing up  Bear. Then she learned that her dramatic ending of River had been slapped onto the end of a better-known author’s gold-rush novel, which was published in a hurry by H/C a in the late fall of that same year. Devastated by that but not wanting to waste time and energy in a copyright lawsuit, and seeing the sales of River quicklydoubling and tripling, she decided never again to send her work to New York publishers. At that time she became a publisher in sprit as well as reality. Now Naida’s bestseller is her California Gold trilogy in a boxed set.
  
Bridge House Books is now reformatting its titles to accommodate e-books and audio-books. Watch our home page for information. 

Historical Novel of the Ancients On Hold
Naida started researching a new story, going back to records left on the earth from 15,000–1000 BCE. What fate did the Ancients encounter? New archeological discoveries in South America, Mexico, and the U.S. have turned upside down what experts believed about the peopling of America. In the excellent book 1491 by ­­­­­_____Mann, the American continent is shown to have been home to millions of people, some with sophisticated civilizations; however California was omitted. Doubtless, the devastations of hydraulic mining, massive floods, constant gold digging and development near the rivers wiped away most of the evidence. But not all of it.  One of Naida’s readers sent her a treasure trove of information passed down in his family. 
 
Writing Plan Derailed by Health Problems
In summer 2016, it became necessary for Naida and her husband to move from their historic ranch and live closer to health facilities. So they left many of their belongings behind and moved to Sacramento. Naida cared for her husband at their new dwelling in Campus Commons, near the American River. Since then, she had no time for research and concentrated bouts of writing, so she began writing her memoir, which required little research and could be done in short bouts.  Part I of Daughter of the West is ready for publication.  Naida plans to present Part I in a preliminary cover and have it for sale at the California State Fair. Part II will come out later.