LAKOTA SURRENDER — The Story Behind the Story

Good Morning (or afternoon or evening) and welcome to another wonderful Tuesday edition of “The Story Behind the Story.”

Because LAKOTA SURRENDER is being featured on Amazon for free right now (I think that promotion is still happening) and because LAKOTA SURRENDER is the book of choice that is being discussed on my publisher’s (Samhain Publishing) Facebook Page — I thought I’d tell you a bit about the story behind the story of LAKOTA SURRENDER.

LAKOTA SURRENDER was the first book that I ever had published.  Above and slightly right is the new ebook cover and off to the far right here is the mass market cover that was originally produced by AVON Books, which is now a subdivision of HarperCollins Publishers.

Inspired at the time by the movie, DANCES WITH WOLVES, I found myself entranced.  I had been writing for a few years, but had only been writing contemporaries — believing that I couldn’t write an historical because of all the research necessary.

But after the film of DANCES WITH WOLVES, I became so interested in the American Indian way of life, that I started to read every book from the library that I could get my hands on.  One of my favorite books to read was by George Catlin, who toured the West (going where no European had gone yet) in 1834.  His observations of the West, of the land and his admiration for the peoples that he met and grew to like and admire, touched me deeply.

Hard to believe this picture to the right is its full size.  Catlin toured the West in order to capture the image of the original inhabitants of this continent as they were in their native state.  He knew that their system of life would soon be in danger of passing into the pages of history — and he wanted to leave a record of what he found.  His observations greatly influenced me — and influenced this book.  In his book, I was treated to wild pony chases, dances, buffalo hunting, wild fires, flaming prairies, interesting traders and scouts and an idea of the romance of the West.

But the writing of this book came straight from my soul.  It had started with the movie DANCES WITH WOLVES, but it evolved into a love of this land of these people.  In truth, I hadn’t intended to write this book.  I’d been writing contemporaries for a while with very little success at publishing them, and had decided to give up my “habit” of writing, not even considering writing an historical because I found the idea of research so daunting, even though I read and loved the American Indian Historical Romance genre.

  It was a friend, Jeanne Miller, who one day said to me, “Well, you know — you have done enough research now that you could write that book about Indians.”  My response was, “Oh, no, I don’t do that anymore (write).  It costs too much money in paper and postage to send out the manuscripts and ink (I wrote this on a typewriter or by hand).  It’s become an expensive habit, and so I’ve decided to stop.”

But the idea was planted.  And no more than a few weeks had gone by when I found myself with a plot and an avenue to express my love for this culture and for these people.   I don’t write about myself.  My heroines are usually based on my friends and this heroine was based on one of my best friends, ever — from High School, Chrissy Pickens (Milliman).  And the hero was based on my idea of a man of honor — an image that was partly created by a character from out of the book, BUCKSKIN BRIGADES, by L. Ron Hubbard.

And so the story was born, and eventually was picked up by AVON Books, my publisher for eleven of my stories.  Lakota Surrender was a story from my heart — a story of the courage of these Western nations and also the courage of those who came to settle the country.

Hope you have enjoyed this installment of The Story Behind the Story — I’ll be giving away a free book today to some lucky blogger — so come on in — leave a comment which automatically enters you into the drawing. 

I’ll leave you with a simple wish.  May this day be filled with all good things for you.

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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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17 thoughts on “LAKOTA SURRENDER — The Story Behind the Story”

  1. Good morning, Karen. I am going to revisit Dakota Surrender. I am sure that I have read it but I enjoy reading a book knowing the backstory. Thank you for letting in on this information. Native American stories have long been among my favorites to read but I think over the years they have become more accurate in telling these stories. Thank you.

  2. Good morning, Karen. I am going to revisit Lakota Surrender. I am sure that I have read it but I enjoy reading a book knowing the backstory. Thank you for letting us in on this information. Native American stories have long been among my favorites to read but I think over the years they have become more accurate in telling these stories. Thank you again.

  3. Okay, I thought I could remove the first post when I realized my goof but it won’t let me……Sorry!

  4. I always enjoy your posts and hearing how your stories came about. It reinforces my feeling that the best books come from the heart and are stories authors want or feel they have to write. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Thank you for this fascinating post about your writing career and how it evolved. It was interesting to learn about the books that you read for the research. Best wishes on your future writing and books.

  6. Kay,

    Good morning. I love these posts you are doing…I lost all my books from you when we moved from TN to AZ but I will get them soon…..

    Love and hope to hear from you soon…..

    Love you bunches,

  7. Another lovely story. I love hearing about your inspiration and the insight into your writing is wonderful.

  8. Hi Melinda!

    Oh, you just reminded me that I have an email pending from you. I have to check with my husband on cost and get back to you — and he’s so busy that when he gets home, I often forget to ask. I’ll do that and get back you, though. 🙂 Thanks for coming here today!

  9. Oh, Vickie, and I so love your comments! By the way, I’m still getting spam type of comments from you email — but it’s not something I can’t live with — just wanted to let you know.

    Thanks for your beautiful comment! 🙂

  10. I’m reading this book right now. A very sweet and tender story, and I love how you intertwined the turmoil in her mind as to what she’d give up like her comfy bed and clothes and music to live in a teepee with her hunky brave. Great characters.

  11. I didn’t realize you wrote contemporaries. I am glad you switched. This genre is a good fit for you. I am glad you found it and have been able to use it to not only teach us a bit about the American West and the native americans, but to honor your friends.

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