Today I welcome David-Michael Harding for a chat about his book Cherokee Talisman. I really enjoy stories about other cultures, and how writers immerse themselves in these other worlds. You'll see that David is more than immersed!
“Cherokee Talisman brings to life characters from our history and through a flare for fiction and historical research, Harding tells their story. Cherokees that might be painted by racist misconceptions as blood thirsty savages are humanized by Harding, making them heroes of a very real time. History is written by the victorious, but when almost forgotten historical characters are brought to life they are preserved for the ages, and in this preservation David-Michael Harding has succeeded.”
- Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker
They were blood-thirsty savages – superstitious, dirty animals.
They were thieves and killers who burned houses to the ground and kidnapped women and children.
They were protectors of a Nation – guerrilla fighters serving their country.
They were husbands and fathers who built homes in lush valleys for their families.
They were – the same men.
In 1775 perspective came with the color of your skin.
An orphan boy, Totsuhwa, is taken under the wing of legendary Cherokee war chief Tsi’yugunsini, the Dragon. But even under a dragon’s wing isn’t safe when a covetous nation forms around them.
Amid the battles, Totsuhwa fights the reoccurring pain of loss until he meets Galegi, who becomes his wife. Trying to raise their son in a peace the new world won’t allow, they teach him the strictest Cherokee traditions while white assimilation, encroachment, and treachery grows. General Andrew Jackson wages war against tribes across the southeast and the toll is high. With his people gradually losing everything, Totsuhwa must find a way to save his family — and the Cherokee Nation — before all is lost.
Cherokee Talisman recreates the neglected history that existed when one nation was born and another almost died. Read my Q&A with the author after the jump... and don't forget to join the giveaway (open INT!)
About David-Michael Harding
David-Michael Harding is a life-long writer whose novel, How Angels Die, received critical acclaim. A former semi-professional football player, his writing is hard hitting and passionate. He holds a master’s degree in education and is an adjunct professor of writing. His respect and admiration of Native American culture inspired this novel. Most of his days are spent writing from the cockpit of his sailboat, Pegasus, somewhere off the Nature Coast of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico.
Q & A with David-Michael HardingWho is your favorite author?
John Steinbeck - He has a unique voice. There is a clarity to his characters that is simple at first blush, but deepens in conjunction with the story line. There is always more to a character than he reveals. Steinbeck leads readers imperceptibly into the conflict through hints of his characters’ ethics and standards. Then as the story gains its legs, our perspectives of the characters are pitted against the complications and layers of the conflict, much like the characters themselves – their turmoil becomes ours.
What do you think makes a good story?
Conflict – always, always conflict. Good vs. evil; Right vs. wrong; Man vs. nature; Black hats vs. the white-hat-wearing cowboys. Conflict can take shape internally (drama) or externally (action). Then the conflict is seasoned with caring – if the reader doesn’t have concern for the characters as they work toward resolving the conflict, the story has no dimension, no depth or surprise, and the results are predictably flat and void of passion.
What are you passionate about these days?
The 80,000 words on my desktop! My next release, due out in the Spring 2014, consumes my time and energy. The research, crafting, creating, and editing, editing, editing is that marvelously painful process we call writing. The passion is in figuratively holding the pen as I eavesdrop on my characters and jot down what they say and do. I love the surprises that come from the creative process.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Sail (and think of the dialogue in the next scene…) If a person is truly destined to be a writer – COMPELLED to be a writer, they quickly discover it to be both blessing and curse. The nature of the process is such that it seldom leaves you. Mr. Hemingway wrote of always leaving something in the well, stopping when you knew what would come next, so as to never face ‘writer’s block’ when looking at a blank page. Because there was always something “left in the well”, the story was forever with him. There is a danger in not being able to turn that switch that controls the process ‘off’.
Do you have any special routines or rituals?
Yes. Whatever the era, genre, etc. of the story I am working on is mirrored by the top of my desk. When I wrote How Angels Die, set in occupied France during WW2, I had photos of my father and uncles as young men in uniform taken in Europe. I also had several pieces of WW2 memorabilia scattered about. I even had a German Luger pistol.
For the most recent work, Cherokee Talisman, set in America at the turn of the 19th century, I had authentic Cherokee arrowheads, stone knives from 1775, and a Remington statue of an Indian on horseback. These pieces become touchstones of sorts that ground me in the writing and serve as historical reminders, some with their own real history.
Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?
“This ain’t my first rodeo.” I’ve been bucked off many, many times (rejected by publishers…) and keep getting back in the saddle.
David-Michael Harding is giving away 2 copies of Cherokee Talisman!
1 e-book (any format!) - Open International!
1 paperback - Open US
Please use Rafflecopter below!