Someone asked me how I became so interested in our Native American Indians and this was my reply—“At 12 years-of-age, I fell in love with a dead Jewish actor who played a dead Indian”.
It was the movie star Jeff Chandler who played the part of the Chiricahua Apache leader, Cochise, in the movie BROKEN ARROW made in the l950’s. After that every term paper or book report I did in school was about our westward expansion and Apache Indians.
Many years later, I went to work for the producer of The PTL Club televisions show in North Carolina. We started doing a series of shows we called Days: Truckers of America Day, Italian American Day, Athletes of America Day, etc.. I asked my boss if we could do something on American Indians and have a Native American Indian Day show for them. He said to research it because he didn’t know anyone working with American Indians and that if I checked it out and it looked promising, he would see what we could come up with.
Well, I knew of a work in Farmington, NM, and I’d read a heart-wrenching story of a Cheyenne girl named “Crying Wind,” that had touched my heart. It was the story of a teenage girl who when ran away from home and the reservation to try to make it in the white man’s world. Trying to fit it, she died her hair blond, dressed older, (she was under 16), and did a lot of things that had bad consequences for her until a Presbyterian Minister came into her life. He turned her to Jesus, who healed her broken spirit, and made a big difference in her life. So armed with these two people, the missionary in Farmington and Crying Wind, I went back to my boss and presented them to him.
In the meantime, someone had found a father and daughter singing team called “Pam and Tom Thumb,” and we did our “Indian Day Program.” Unfortunately, for me and for the show, it did not go over well. But through that program, a missionary working with Apaches in Cibicue, AZ wrote to my boss and said she knew some more things that God was doing with American Indians and if we ever did another an Indian Day Program, would we please contact her for more information. Needless to say, my boss did not want to hear anything more about Native Americans, but I truly felt the letter had come for my benefit anyway, so I took it home and answered it and the missionary and I became friends.
For the next ten years I spent all my summer vacations with her on the Apache and Navajo Reservations and attend Native American Pastor convocations. I met many wonderful Apache and Navajos, as well as people from many other tribes. I was grieved and touched by their poor living conditions on the reservations and was appalled that we would let the real First Americans live like that in this day and age. That started my empathy and love for them as a people.
One day in l982 while my son and I were getting ready for work and school, a famous romance writer was on GOOD MORNING AMERICA, discussing her latest best seller. I turned to my son as we passed each other in the living room and I said: “I’ve read her books and I know I could write one every bit as good as hers.”
And my son said, “If you can, do it,” putting the dare before me to write a historical novel. So I took him up on it and I wrote the first book in three months.
It is a romantic historical saga about an Eastern Baltimore belle and an Apache warrior caught up in a taboo love that has the power to heal or harm a broken people. Set in historical SE Arizona of l860-1880, Apache Warrior proves love knows no color, creed or race. It happens in the heart, when and where you least expect it and if allowed to grow, can conquer differences in culture, hatred and personal loss.
Kensington has asked for a second book on another tribe and setting, so I have started the second book. It will feature a Navajo medicine man and a pastor’s daughter from Virginia. I hope you will look for it in 2009.
Thanks for taking the time to read my posting. I hope you will enjoy APACHE WARRIOR. I’m giving away one copy of it to someone who posts a comment or a question. Good luck!