Thank you for having me as your guest today, Anna. When you asked why we should care about historical events, I immediately thought of the next full-length novel I’m planning to write and how the events of that time impact the women we are today.
I was excited about the idea of BENEATH AN IRON SKY, the next historical romance in my Native American series. I had the essentials all figured out. The hero is Crow Eagle, a Lakota warrior with a tragic past. The time and place are the turbulent 1880s on the Great Plains. The only thing missing was the heroine. For some reason she eluded me.
As a member of my community History Club, I was asked to give a talk on the events leading up to the passage of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution enfranchising women with the right to vote previously only afforded to men. In my research I looked for little known facts and events that would make my talk more interesting, particularly about the women who drove the suffrage movement. And that’s when I had a light bulb moment. Suddenly, I knew exactly who my heroine is. She’s a suffragist, of course. And don’t ask me why, but her name came to me in the next instant. Philadelphia Stratton. That’s a mouthful, but everyone calls her Del.
Del grew up in Pennsylvania. In 1879 her father was a teacher at the Carlisle Indian School. Carlisle was a federally funded boarding school for Indian children. The idea was to Americanize them and give them the skills to advance in society. The children were taken from their families and forced to give up their culture, language, religion, and even their names. It was at Carlisle that 11 year old Del met a 15 year old Lakota boy. The bond between them was instantaneous and strong. But knowing how desperately he craved his freedom, Del helped him escape from Carlisle, saddened that she would never see him again.
The story opens ten years later when Del has taken up the cause of the women’s suffrage movement. Her efforts to gain the right to vote have taken her west, to South Dakota on the verge of statehood, where the US Cavalry is waging war against the Sioux. Crow Eagle, now a strong warrior, leads a war party on an attack against an emigrant wagon train. In the attack he is wounded and found near death by Del.
The friendship that began ten years earlier heats up to full-blown passion. As Del and Crow Eagle fight for their forbidden love, she faces dangerous close-minded adversaries in her campaign for women’s rights, while the Lakotas are caught up in the Ghost Dance movement spreading like wildfire among the western tribes and drawing the ire of the US Government. Can their love survive the forces uniting against them that culminate along a little creek called Wounded Knee?
The course of women’s rights and Indian rights run parallel in this story. It wasn’t until 1920 that the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was finally ratified by the states and women received the right to vote. Today, we have women like my fiery heroine Philadelphia Stratton to thank for the right most of us take for granted, and the Lakota people can look to warriors like my fictional hero Crow Eagle who fought to keep their culture alive.
BENEATH AN IRON SKY will be available in 2015. I can’t wait to get started on it. Meanwhile, readers who enjoy historicals with a Native American hero, might like WHERE THE WILD WIND BLOWS, available at these e-tailers:
Google Play/Books And in print through CreateSpace
My other historical titles include
THIS TENDER PRIZE
BLOOD RHAPSODY (Soul Searchers Series Book I)
TAINTED LOVE (Soul Searchers Series Book II)
THE PRINCE’S PASSION (novella)
As for me, I’m a New York transplant living in South Florida with my husband and our Alaskan Malamute, Indio, also known as Big Fur.
I love hearing from readers. You can follow on Twitter @NancyMorse or contact me through my website http://www.nancymorse.com – Where Love Is Always An Adventure