When I asked Carmen why she wrote these books this is what she said:
I wrote them for my sons, who are tribal members of the Colville Confederated Tribes as is their father and are mostly of the Arrow Lakes-Sinyekst- band originating in British Columbia, Canada. After working with Marguerite, and unfortunately after she passed away, I wanted to do something with the language she had taught to me, and after living on the Reservation for some time and getting to know the culture, decided to write Change of Heart in honor of my son’s (and husband's) tribe and our faith. I loved it so much, I just kept going. This spring I will have a third book coming out that continues with Spupaleena and horse relay racing.
After fighting with her sister, thirteen-year-old Spupaleena bolted from their Arrow Lakes pit home into the dead of winter. Spupaleena didn’t know where she was going but knew she could no longer live at home. Haunted by the deaths of her mother and baby brother, Spupaleena ran until she’d run too far.
Upon discovering Spupaleena’s body, Phillip Gardner, a trapper, brings her home to his cabin. This wife, Elizabeth, does her best to help heal Spupaleena, although with a broken heart and a mangled body, she is not likely to survive. But when Phillip doesn’t return from a trip into town, a pregnant Elizabeth and a weak Spupaleena are forced to find strength not only in each other but in God as well. In this story of hardship, grief, and eventual hope, Spupaleena learns all she needed was a Change of Heart.
Spupaleena was not about to back down. Knowing she encompassed the skills to race against young men, Spupaleena would begin her intense training. However, Rainbow, her trusted middle-aged mare, would only carry her so far. She would need to find a new horse, but where? She was tired of her fellow racer’s cruel insults, one boy’s in particular. She was determined to not only race him, but to win. She drew her strength from God and exhibited a Heart of Courage. But at times, wondered if that was enough. Spupaleena’s father was against her. Would she have the spirit to compete and win? If so, would her father ever learn to accept her dreams of training and racing horses?
Carmen Peone has lived in Northeast Washington, on the Colville Indian Reservation for twenty-three years. She had worked with a Tribal Elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes Language and various cultural traditions. She has owned and trained her horses for thirteen years and has competed in local Extreme Challenge Competitions for three years. She lives with her husband Joe. They have four grown sons and five grandchildren. With a degree in psychology, the thought of writing never entered her mind, until she married her husband and they moved to the reservation after college. She came to love the people and their heritage and wanted to create a legacy for her sons.
Books can be ordered off her web site: carmenpeone.tateauthor.com