22 August 2010

Guest Author: Liz Fichera

This week on Unusual Historicals we're welcoming Carina author Liz Fichera as she celebrates the release of CAPTIVE SPIRIT. It's different from many of the books profiled here in that the main characters are all Native American and it takes place around 1500AD in the Sonoran Desert of the American Southwest. Liz is giving away one free copy of CAPTIVE SPIRIT to a randomly selected person brave enough to leave a comment or ask a question!

Aiyana isn't like the other girls of the White Ant Clan. Instead of keeping house, she longs to compete on the Ball Court with her best friend Honovi and the other boys. Instead of marriage, she daydreams of traveling beyond the mountains that surround her small village. Only Honovi knows and shares her forbidden wish, though Aiyana doesn't realize her friend has a secret wish of his own...

When Aiyana's father arranges her marriage to a man she hardly knows, she takes the advice of a tribal elder: Run! In fleeing, she falls into the hands of Spanish raiders and finds herself being taken over the mountains against her will. Now Aiyana's on a quest to return to the very place she once dreamed of escaping. And she'll do whatever it takes to survive and find her way back to the people she loves.

"Readers will cheer for the intrepid Aiyana and brave Honovi as the teens fight for their chance at love despite the collapse of their world." ~ RT Book Reviews

"This isn't your traditional romance--it's much more!" ~ Peeking Between the Pages

"CAPTIVE SPIRIT was utterly gripping and engaging." ~ Debuts & Reviews


How long have you been writing? Is Captive Spirit your first book or have you written any unpublished works?

CAPTIVE SPIRIT is my first published novel. It's also my first historical romance. I've written several novels before CAPTIVE SPIRIT and am hopeful that at least one of them will be published! I've been writing since I was about ten years old, but I didn't start to get serious about being published till about five years ago. I write mostly young adult and women's commercial fiction.

What were your inspirations for creating a story based on Native American culture? How much research did you need to complete for this story?

Living in the American Southwest, it's hard not to be inspired by Native American culture. For CAPTIVE SPIRIT, I did a lot of research online, in the library, and at a wonderful place called the Phoenix Heard Museum which has one of the most comprehensive Native American collections in the entire world. CAPTIVE SPIRIT involves an intriguing people called the Hohokam Indians.

When I first moved to Phoenix, Arizona, from Chicago, I remember learning that the Hohokam were the first inhabitants of the Sonoran Desert and of Phoenix, in particular. They traveled to the desert from Mayan and Aztec cultures around 300 BC and existed peacefully as master canal builders and farmers till around 1500 AD when they vanished for reasons unknown. Archaeologists still don't know why they disappeared--abandoned their whole lives, really--and it was the Pima Indians who called them Hohokam which means "Those Who Have Gone." I always thought that little bit of history was so unbelievably cool. It's also what inspired me to write CAPTIVE SPIRIT.

If you watch the book trailer for CAPTIVE SPIRIT (above), you'll see the rugged setting for the book--much of it hasn't changed in hundreds of years--along with Hohokam petroglyphs. I always wondered if maybe the Hohokam were trying to leave us a message with their petroglyphs about what happened to them? We'll never know, but it teases the storyteller in me.

Are you working on anything else at this time?

I've just finished up a contemporary fantasy romance, and I'm starting another historical romance with a literary bent involving a well-known Apache Indian. My head is already spinning with that story.

Besides writing, what else keeps you busy? What are your hobbies and interests?

I'm one of those crazy people who actually likes to run--not 100 mile marathons or anything. But I do like to run in the desert, although I have to run inside at my local gym at the moment because it's currently 105 degrees and will probably stay that way for another month or two. I also love to visit museums and watch theatre productions in Phoenix, where I sometimes write theatre reviews for local blogs and organizations. When time and money permits, I love to travel anywhere there's a museum and really good room service.

About Liz:

Liz is an author from the American Southwest by way of Chicago. She likes to write stories about ordinary people who do extraordinary things, oftentimes against the backdrop of Native American legends. When she's not writing her next novel, you can find her on Facebook, Twitter, or her blog dishing about writing, books, hunks du jour, LOST reruns, or the best brands of chocolate. Don't hesitate to connect with her at her website because it can get real lonely in the desert.


Thanks for stopping by today, Liz! We were thrilled to have you here.

Readers, if you'd like to win a digital copy of CAPTIVE SPIRIT, please leave a comment or question for Liz. Are you intrigued by the setting? We'd love to hear your feedback about this most unusual romance! I'll draw the winner at random next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!