I started with the hero and heroine. They have a resemblance in some ways to a young couple I met a few years ago. They were so in love, you could feel the electricity between them. Then when I asked them some questions about their backgrounds, I knew I had to write a book with characters like them.
My heroine was to be a daughter of a preacher. The hero, half American Indian and half French. I wanted an obscure mission in the Pacific Northwest that I could have her father teaching at and have the hero be a part of the tribe they were helping to find God and learn to be civilized.
|This is country where I grew up. It resembles the Lemhi area
|This is the hero, Henrí Baudin
That skidded my story to a halt. I read all this information, and discovered the school I had outside the stockade would have been a very small school held inside the stockade in the meeting house. And that very few Shoshone attended the school. AND there were bigger political issues taking place that my hero, who was at Yale studying law could help his people with.
With this new information, the story no longer dealt with ill treatment of the Shoshone children. Instead, it now deals with the Shoshone seeing the missionaries friending their enemies, taking natural resources from the valley to Salt Lake, Brigham Young deciding in February 1857 they should build a community rather than help the Shoshone, the army trying to get the Indians on their side to roust out the Mormons, and the final straw, the mission taking in another tribe that had stolen Shoshone horses.
The mission that started in 1856 was abandoned in March 1858 when the Shoshone stole the fort's livestock and horses and killed some of the Mormons when they took over the fort.
As with all my books what started out as a moral theme turned into a theme of justice. I can't seem to get away from that theme in my books, but that makes them grittier and more fulfilling for me to write.
This research and digging is for the fourth book in the Letters of Fate series. Henrí will release in April.
If you haven't read this series yet you can find, Davis, Isaac, and Brody on my website and peruse their stories.
Paty Jager is an award-winning author of 30+ novels, dozen novellas, and short stories of murder mystery, western romance, and action adventure. She has a RomCon Reader’s Choice Award, EPPIE, Lorie, and RONE Award. All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. This is what readers have to say about the Letters of Fate series- “...filled with romance, adventure and twists and turns.” “What a refreshing and well written love story of fate and hope!”