All tagged why to write a book

My novel, Little Alice Brings Solace to a Ghost Town, is about two little Indian girls: Little Alice and her sister, Harriet. They are mixed race: half white and half Native American. And their native half is also mixed: Navajo and Hopi. One theme of my story is the dilemma faced by these two sisters: whether to assimilate into the white culture of their beloved Aunt Julia, who has adopted them, or to remain true to their Indian cultures. Little Alice opts to become Christian, learn English and Spanish, and assimilate into the white culture of her aunt. Harriet opts to keep her native religion and language, and remain part of the Hopi culture of her mother. They are fortunate, in that their aunt does not try to force them to go one way or the other—assimilate or not.

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The first chapter of my latest novel, Nadya: The Restoration of a Flying Tiger, is autobiographical. The little boy, “Jimmy Dade,” is me. The man, “Howie Hill,” is one of the Smyer brothers—embarrassingly I don’t remember his first name … maybe “Paul.” I remember so well the day I met him. It was the first time I realized what war does to a warrior. Like Chennault, he was a hero, but no book has been written about him, and he hasn’t even merited a footnote. As far as I know, no one in Amarillo remembers him or knows anything about him. His mother, his father and his brothers are long deceased. The Air Force undoubtedly didn’t know that he had died and so it furnished no marker for his grave, wherever it might be. Again embarrassingly, I forgot to put “Flying Tiger Smyer” in my novel’s Acknowledgements, even though he was the reason I wrote the book.

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            My novels come from my experience growing up in the Texas Panhandle in the 1940s, 50s, and early 60s. This was during and after World War II, during and after the Korean War, before the Civil Rights Movement, and before Vietnam.

            When I was growing up, there were two underlying cultural influences in Texas: the Alamo and Appomattox—the memory of the War with Mexico, and the memory of the War Between the States (the American Civil War).

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People often ask me why I write romance novels, rather than some other genre. Well, I didn’t plan it that way. But it seems that no matter what I set out to write about, it ends up a romance of one kind or another. By “romance,” I mean a love relationship between two persons—of whatever ages … or even of the same sex.

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I’ve reached the age—my seventies—at which I hope I have something worth telling. I’ve seen a lot, done a lot, been a lot of places and met a lot of people. Hopefully, I have learned from all my experiences, and so I have something worth telling people. And my way of telling people is through my novels.

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