Mid-18th century North America is a hotbed of unrest between many Native American tribes, who are feuding over territory. By this time, most of the Kiowa bands have been pushed west by the Lakota, who are on the move southward from the Great Lakes region. These invaders from the north want the game-rich, lush pasture lands for themselves. However, one small Kiowa band is determined to remain in their early homelands in the area of what will be one day known as eastern South Dakota. These two enemy tribes are brought face-to-face through the vision of a young Kiowa medicine man. When Sky Dancer, a beautiful, Kiowa widow and proud Lakota warrior, Dark Horse, are forced to marry in order to create an alliance between their peoples, will the sacrifice that is asked of them save their tribes? Will these two enemies overcome their initial hatred to find love in an unlikely place?
Today I’m chatting with Robin Deeter, the author of ‘Sweet Reward’ the first book in the Black Hills Chronicles. Robin, thanks for joining me today. I don’t believe that I’ve interviewed another author so far who has written fiction within the Native American culture. What inspired you to write a Native American romance?
I’ve always been fascinated by Native American culture. I live in Bloomsburg, PA, and we live in an area that was heavily populated by the Susquehannock Indians and I grew up hearing stories about them. Over the past couple of years, I’ve done a lot of research about several of the tribes who were located around the Black Hills of South Dakota. I started wondering what it would be like to write a Native American romance series that largely revolved around an all Native American cast. And that’s where the idea was born.
Has your fascination stemmed with your own involvement with the Native American culture? Are you a Native American, or have you personally spent time within the culture?
No. I’m not Native American and I’ve never had to do anything of the things they did.
You must have done an immense amount of research to ensure that you were doing the culture justice.
I did TONS of research so that I had my facts straight. I greatly respect the Native American community and I don’t want to spread false information. It’s extremely important to me to be true to their culture and history.
I’m glad to hear that you have a strong respect for their culture. While you were in the midst of researching did you run across any subject matters that you decided to include in the book?
Yes. I always try to deal with some sort of social issue. As an author, I feel that it’s my responsibility to bring attention to important problems that face our society, and yet do it in an entertaining, informative way.
How did the individual characters within the society you’ve written about in the book develop?
I always say that I have a creative door in my head, which my characters knock on. I open the door and they come in and sit down with me. They tell me their story and what they want to do, not the other way around.
Do they come and knock on your creative door while you are dreaming?
YES! Sometimes my ideas come from a dream, which is really cool.
It is really cool. You get to work on your writing while you are sleeping, I like the efficiency in that setup. Did you have a character that you developed a stronger relationship, or became your favourite?
They’re all my favorites because they all play different roles.
Very diplomatic answer :).
Because this is the start of a series, I’ll have plenty of time to tell each of their stories.
More time to socialise with your characters is good. If you had the opportunity in real life to social with any of the characters would you take it?
Yes. Since they’re Native Americans, I would probably like to sit around the fire with them and have some whiskey or tea.
Sitting around the fire with some whisky, tea and watching the night sky sounds absolutely fantastic. I think I’d have to go with you! Is that the best part of writing for you, just kicking back and talking with your characters?
I find my ability to bring to light a lot of the history of the Native Americans in the 1700’s and to show what their lives were like during this time the most rewarding.
You mentioned earlier that this book is the first in a series. Have you started working on the next instalment of this series yet so that you can spent more time with the characters?
I’m publishing the next book in my Chance City Series on the 7th of October 2016 and then beginning to write the 2nd book in The Black Hills Chronicles.
Wow, writing multiple series at the one time must keep you quiet busy. Approximately how long does it take for you complete a book?
About six weeks. When I don’t have any interruptions, I can crank out a book in that amount of time.
That is some impressive cranking. You must write at at relatively quick rate to work in that period of time. What is your writing schedule like?
I write every day and simply write until my mental tank is empty. I can write anywhere.
Do you carry around your laptop or notepad so that you can catch those ideas when you are out and about?
I write longhand if I’m out and about. I have little notebooks that I carry with me. When I’m at home, I use my laptop. As a full-time writer, I’m constantly writing.
Yes. I try to make the book as pristine as I can and then give it to my betareaders to go through.
And when your beta readers are working on polishing your work how does do you go about the book cover design?
My book designer, Taylor Sullivan, is a genius and does a fantastic job for me.
Your book covers do really look fantastic so I think that you’re onto a winner there. As a full time writer you must have some good tips for others looking to get into the game. Can you share a few for us.
First, believe in yourself. Network with other authors. Make sure you have a big online presence, i.e, Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, author website are essential.
I agree, as a reader I always like being able to check out an author’s website and it’s a shame when there isn’t one available. What was it like to receive your first review when you had done all of the hard work of writing, publishing and promoting?
On top of the world. It was a 5 star review and it made me feel like my endeavors were worth while. So, readers, please, please, please review the books you read. Whether they’re mine or any self-published author, we NEED those reviews on Amazon, Nook, and iTunes. You have no idea how important they are and we all appreciate them so very much.
That is very true, reviews are so very important. As a reader do you feel that your writing has been directed by what you’ve read in the part and in particular your favorite writers?
My absolute favorite author is Stephen King. It has influenced my romance writing in that I don’t write fluff. I keep my stories true to real life and there are sometimes darker elements to my writing since I include a lot of action and suspense in my stories. My readers love this, so I guess I’m doing something right.
Yes, if your audience agrees you must be doing something right. Are you currently reading anything worth recommending?
I’m currently reading a book titled, Jacob My Friend, which is an account of the Susquehannok Indians.
You’re still pursing that love of the Native Americans :). Did that love of Native Americans extend to your favourite book as a child? Or were you favouring another book then?
My favourite was The Black Stallion book series by Walter Farley.
Horses abound! Another good choice :). Robin, thanks very much for joining me today and letting both myself and the audience have a look at ‘Sweet Reward’. Good luck for the promotion of this book and the upcoming release of in the next book in the Chance series.
Want to connect with Robin? Connect here!