A great deal of musing and research went into my new YA fantasy romance series,Secret Warrior. Book 1, The Hunter’s Moon, is out now. I’ve signed a 3 book contract with the Wild Rose Press. This does not rule out more titles. Each story is novella length and will be available in eBook format only. They release faster this way.
The concept behind the series evolved for years before I wrote a word. Although the setting is present day, I’ve drawn on my knowledge of colonial America, Native Americans, particularly the Shawnee, the mountain people, herbal lore. and my imagination. Since this is fantasy, not everything in The Hunter’s Moon, or future titles, can be traced back to any particular people, but much can. The mythos behind the werewolves in Secret Warrior is uniquely mine.
Historically, the Shawnee do not believe in werewolves, but they and other Native Americans admire ‘Brother Wolf’.’ Their reverence for nature, respect for their elders, inherent spirituality, and regard for courage and loyalty are all significant. Some aspects of the story are inspired by their values. Others are not. The dragon like thunder bird comes from Native American lore, and supposed sightings.
Jim Great Elk Waters, Shawnee Elder and Pipecarrier, assisted with the language. He also helped with several of my historicals. For a more accurate portrayal of the Shawnee, read my award-winning adult historical romance novels, Red Bird’s Song, available in kindle and print, and Through the Fire.
‘The Lizard Lady’ mentioned in The Hunter’s Moon and fully featured in Book 2, Curse of the Moon (release date TBD) is a fascinating character I learned about through late Shenandoah Valley historian and author John Heatwole. Mr. Heatwole interviewed mountain and valley people, compiling their accounts into a book, Shenandoah Voices. He also hosted a radio program. One of my favorite accounts is ‘The Lizard Lady’, a creepy shifter woman from back in the gap who basks in the moonlight as an enormous lizard. InSecret Warrior, she’s a witch with two daughters. Other mountain people lore emerges in the series as well.
When the first settlers came to the Shenandoah Valley in the early/mid 1700’s, my Scots-Irish ancestors among them, Shawnee were living near the present day town of Winchester. They also hunted in the valley, a thoroughfare for Native Americans going north or south, but were soon evicted and war broke out. In Secret Warrior, a small band remain in the mountains as guardians of the forest. I’ve placed them in the ridges surrounding Fort Valley, a little known valley hidden between the Massanutten Mountains, just east of the Blue Ridge. A nugget I gleaned about George Washington ordering Revolutionary War hero Daniel Morgan to build the first road into Fort Valley and the plan to use it as a hideout if the Continental Army lost to the British at Yorktown, formed the basis for the series. And then there are the hala’a’kwa lin’nuwech’kie, Star People.
‘Nuff said, or I’ll give too much away. I hope you’ll enjoy The Hunter’s Moonand the Secret Warrior Series.
***The Hunter’s Moon is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and from other online booksellers. Although the series is written for teens 14 and up, (younger for prolific readers), the stories are entertaining for any age.