24 October 2010

Guest Author: Beth Trissel

This week on Unusual Historicals we're welcoming 2008 Golden Heart finalist Beth Trissel as she celebrates the release of RED BIRD'S SONG, set during the 1760s in the colonial Alleghenies!

Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn't how Charity Edmonson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather's vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.

George III's English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts.

As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.
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Native American historical romance novel RED BIRD'S SONG is the story of my heart for many reasons. The initial encounter between Charity and Wicomechee was inspired by a dream I had on New Year's Eve--a highly propitious time for dreams--about a young warrior taking an equally young woman captive at a river and the unexpected attraction between them. That dream had such a profound impact on me that I took the leap from writing non-fiction essays to historical novels and embarked on the most amazing journey of my life. That was years ago and the saga continues. I also met the prophetic warrior, Eyes of the Wolf, in another dream at the advent of this adventure, so when I describe him in the book I'm envisioning a character I feel I know.

The setting for much of RED BIRD'S SONG is the same as my other strongly Native American novel, THROUGH THE FIRE, the spectacular Alleghenies. Much of the history depicted in the story was inspired by accounts I came across while researching my early American English/Scots-Irish roots and the Border Wars. The French and Indian War is the most well known, but there were others. Life in the frontier was unsettled even after The American Revolution had drawn to a close and warfare a reality. The boundaries of the frontier just keep shifting farther west. In the early-mid 18th century, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia was the colonial frontier and only hardy souls dared to settle here. The bulk of these were the tough Scots-Irish. If the Indians had only had to fight regular British troops they might ultimately have won because they scared the s--out of men trained for conventional warfare, but the long knives were another matter. They weren't easily intimidated and soon learned from their cunning enemy.

Although Hawk Eye in The Last of the Mohicans is an adopted Mohican, his lifestyle and behavior is that of a colonial frontiersman. The more rugged of these men dressed as he did, much in the Indian way. They hunted & fought with muskets, tomahawks, and their famous knives. Indians acquired these knives as well. They blended traditional weapons and ways of living with newfound tools and weapons of Western man. A highly adaptable people.

The attack at the opening of RED BIRD'S SONG in the Shenandoah Valley is based on one that occurred to my ancestors and is recorded by Historian Joseph A. Waddell in The Annals of Augusta County. A renegade Englishman by the last name of Dickson led the war party that attacked them. Initially I'd intended to make the Colin Dickson in RED BIRD'S SONG a villain but as soon as he galloped onto the scene I knew differently.

Wicomechee, the hero in RED BIRD'S SONG, is based on the Shawnee warrior by that name who lived early in the nineteenth century and to whom I have ties. The Moffett's, an early Valley family I'm related to, include a reference to him in their genealogy. Wicomechee's father, John Moffett, was captured in Kentucky by the Shawnee at the age of eight and adopted into the tribe. It's said he was a boyhood companion to the great chief Tecumseh, a chief for whom I have enormous admiration. The accounts of John Moffett and Wicomechee are recorded by Waddell. It's also noted that during the Black Hawk Wars Wicomechee recovered the captive daughters of a Dr. Hull and brought them safely into camp, which reminds me of Hawkeye in The Last of the Mohicans. I've included more on this amazing warrior at the end of the novel as a bonus for those who read it.

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Thanks for this wonderful narrative, Beth, and for stopping by today! Readers, Beth will be giving away one digital copy of RED BIRD'S SONG to a lucky commenter. Just leave a comment or question for your chance to win. I'll draw the winner at random next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Best of luck!

18 comments:

Patsy said...

Sounds great! Thanks for giving away a copy.
plhouston(at)bellsouth(dot)net

April said...

Great post. This book sounds great. The cover is beautiful.
tarenn98[at]yahoo[dot]com

Verona St. James said...

This looks great! Thanks for sharing. :)

Beth Trissel said...

Thanks so much guys. :)

grndkat1 said...

Beth as usual you have another great winner~~Do you do alot of research in your books as you are writting them or before you write them? Also How do you get an idea to write a book? Do the story just hit you or do you get the ideas during daily functions? I would love to win a copy. Keep up the fantastic work~~Hugs, Kathey

Beth Trissel said...

Excellent questions Kathey. I do a lot of research before I write to give me a good foundation and get a better idea of what a character may or may not have done in that time period. The hero and heroine usually depart from the norm but I need to know what that norm is before they transgress. :) AS to inspiration, much comes from research itself, and dreams both waking and sleeping. I dreamed the opening to both Red Bird's Song, Through the Fire and Somewhere My Lass. Details, even scenes, often occur to me as I go about my day and I call this my thinking time.

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

Wow, Beth, I love how you had a dream about this and it was fulfilled by turning into a romantic story. Loved your pictures! I sure wish we had fall colors like that!!! When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on about Native American tales after reading Last of the Mohicans. I've always been fascinated with them, and in an article I did on wolves, mentioned one of the tribes and why they used the wolf way to hunt. Also in Legend of the White Wolf, I mentioned one of the Canadian tribes in the story. :) If only all our dreams could become reality, eh??? :)

Miriam Newman said...

Wow, what a great story, Beth, so I can only imagine how good it is in the book.

Sherry Dee Morris said...

Beth you paint such a vivid picture, both with your narative and your wonderful photos. I'm really looking forward to reading this :)

Beth Trissel said...

Kewl, Terry. And thanks Miriam and Sherry. I love it when I can turn a dream into a story about something I love and am fascinated by.

Keena Kincaid said...

Love the premise of this book, Beth. It's on my TBR list and I can't wait to finish moving and find time to read again.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Beth, your posts are always fascinating and this was no exception. I love that you use information from your ancestry to create your books.

Beth Trissel said...

Thanks. I don't think I'd be writing historical fiction/romance if not for inspiration from researching my ancestors.

Lilly Gayle said...

Beth,
Love the history behind historical romance and I love Native American stories. One of my all time favorites (besides anything by Madelin Baker) is Ride the Wind, the true story of Cynthia Ann Parker--kidnapped by the Comanche when she was 9 and the Comanche leader she later married, Peta Nacoma. Their son, Quana Paker was the last free Comanche chief and never lost a battle to the white man.
Red Bird is going on my must read list!

Beth Trissel said...

Yes, fascinating history, Lilly. And thanks!

Mona Risk said...

Hi Beth, I love the way you make the Shenandoah Valley come alive with description and pictures. This book is a winner thanks to your lovely voice and a great story. I enjoy your research and the stories behind your books. What a fun way to learn History.

Beth Trissel said...

Thanks so much Mona. It is a fun way to learn history.

Carrie Lofty said...

We have a winner: Keena Kincaid. Congratulations! Details here:

http://unusualhistoricals.blogspot.com/2010/10/red-birds-song-winner.html

Thanks to everyone for stopping by!