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Here I will be sharing insights into the writing life and particularly the many discoveries made while researching material, much of which is absent in the storylines of my books.
While research is vital to historical fiction, the majority of it is peripheral to the story, yet often essential to set the stage for bringing the reader into the action. While my first novel, The Thirty-Ninth Man, spoke of the disastrous treaty system and how it was used to control and eventually defeat the native population, the sequel novel, Tears Of Sorrow, focuses on personalities and characteristics of real people as they deal with historically correct situations.
Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse were each revered by the people, yet they differed significantly in their outlooks, in fact in some circumstances, almost opposites when dealing with white expansion. One thing they all shared was a deep love and commitment to Oyate - The People.
As my fictional family moves into the Black Hills, they experience real-life issues that result in individual changes as a consequence of living with realities of the time. A good many of my research “discoveries” are enhanced through personal knowledge of the area in which the story takes place. As is often the case, a description of the surroundings helps to bring you the reader into a personal connection to the storyline. This connection is best accomplished by having first-hand knowledge of the land, city, weather, or other factors in play within the story; how much better to have been in the characters shoes, than in guessing what that character experiences.
To learn more about the first of my first three novels (Tears of Sorrow, The Thirty-Ninth Man, and The Wild Ways), click on 'The Books' tab. I hope you enjoy each of them.
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Dale A. Swanson