As many people are not aware the history and culture of the Native American is a long and tough one. Many times they were driven from their lands and forced to change religious practices.
It is hard to find a good fiction novel that can depict any form of Native Life and Culture in a way that is well thought out and doesn’t use the stereotypes that seem to plague the bands.
The very best of these authors is Linda Prather. She writes with a passion and shows the many sides of typical or even atypical life of those who are Native. She also writes about the spirituality of the Natives and how magic is with them every day whether you are a shaman or not.
Her character Loki is a gifted lady who left the reserves and found a life much more suited to her. I myself am very fond of Loki as she is strong and very self sufficient and has the attitude about her that makes her very easy to get to like as a character.
Jake her partner also is trying to understand her life and what being in this world is all about. He isn’t native but he is interesting and helps balance out the parts of Loki that are more impulsive.
She has a couple books out about Loki Redmond and Jake Saviour and both books are top of the line. I highly recommend them as they show a side of life that you may not be aware of.
I have a few questions that I know I would love answers to in regards to these books and her many others.
First is the process of writing characters with such depth has to be challenging but also writing a minority who has a lot of stereotypes about them. Can you please describe how you came up with these characters.?
Real life is filled with every emotion we can imagine. Many of these emotions I’ve felt myself. Love, hate, joy, anger, sadness, grief, physical and emotional pain, loyalty and betrayal. All of these are a part of who I am and I try to incorporate that reality into my characters so that they’re not one-dimensional. They react to situations in a certain way, so I try to uncover, at least in my own mind, what’s in their past that makes them react that way. Most mothers and fathers will understand what I’m about to say. Your child is missing for a few minutes. They’re out of your sight and you’re scared. Fear makes your heart beat faster, your mouth often goes dry and a surge of energy rushes through you as you run around the playground screaming their name. Three things usually happen when you see them—relief that makes your legs weak, followed immediately by anger that they didn’t stay where you told them to stay and love as you’re hugging them to you realizing how much they mean to you. Normally every situation has more than one emotion or reaction attached to it. Incorporating those into your characters is what makes them real to you and hopefully to your readers.
Second the use of shaman or tribal powers has always intrigued me and I always love learning about traditions. The path you see the Redmond’s take is that been something that has been handed down the generations and how did you learn of it?
My mother was half Indian. My grandmother died before I was born, but I have memories of my grandfather and of visiting a reservation. I later studied Shamanism for several years, but could not make the lifetime commitment to continue my study. The spiritual part of the lives of Native Americans is something I feel is a part of my very nature. It is something I respect greatly and research for days on end before putting anything on paper.
Third is the use of the Reservation. In the second book Loki returns to the reservation after many years away. Can you describe what standard life is like on the reservations as many are unaware of what happens on them?
It’s been many, many years since I visited a reservation, but there’s an excellent article here about current life on reservations: http://www.nativepartnership.org/site/PageServer?pagename=naa_livingconditions
Reading this breaks my heart as it doesn’t appear much has changed since my childhood. They face many of the same problems everyone else faces, only perhaps worse in some ways as much of their life is controlled by policies and regulations that only apply to Native Americans. As with all cultures years pass and traditions are lost. Lack of employment opportunities results in young people having to leave the reservation to support themselves or their families. Having said this, I believe there are many who stay because true culture is something felt in the heart. True traditions are practiced alone, in silence and reverence for what they believe and hopefully will be passed down and carried in the hearts of future generations.
Having been to many places that have many Natives from different Bands it is nice to see in writing that the use of the name of the band is used. How did you determine what band to use for the story and is there a strong connection to it?
I would love to say yes to this, but truthfully it had more to do with research and story location. I think Harry and Loki influenced my choice by their personalities and beliefs. The character development came before the choice of location. Loki’s family story is perhaps a little more dramatic than my own parents’ and grandparents’ stories, but much of the emotions applied are the same.
Now on to something else that while doesn’t deal with Natives deals with magical realism in your books.
You have written a number of paranormal thrillers and each are amazing I haven’t found many that can match you. The Catherine Mans series deals with a psychic who works with the FBI. She has such power but still has a humility in her core value.
The power of the mind has always fascinated me. I truly believe our abilities are limited only by what we believe to be possible, and by what we fear to be possible. Those two things go hand in hand, and perhaps separate good from evil. Those with humility may believe it’s possible or even know it’s possible but have a healthy fear of the consequences of that power. Catherine and Mary are prime examples of the opposite effect of power, or perhaps prime examples of good and evil.
Who are your inspirations as an author?
In many ways all authors are my inspiration. Stories may be similar to something you’ve read before, but the weaving of the story and emotions of the characters will be different. A unique addition by the author themselves. C. S. Lewis amazed me with his talent for satire. I enjoy Tolstoy. Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Dean Koontz’s ability to describe a scene so vividly that you can see it and feel it. Stephen King’s ability to describe fear that makes your heart pound and leaves you temporarily afraid of the dark. M. A. Comley’s ability to write characters that aren’t one-dimensional, but pull you into their lives in a way that makes you feel like you’re making new friends—or new enemies. The earliest book I remember that had an impact on me was Old Yeller by Fred Gipson. It made me laugh, and it made me cry. It kept me in suspense and worried about the characters. It did what a really good book always does—it made me feel emotions. Ten authors could be given the exact same scene to write and no two would be exactly alike. Each would unique in some small way. It is that uniqueness that sets them apart from other authors in their own genre. This is what inspired me to become an author, and it’s the thing I admire the most when I become lost inside a really good book.