Why I wrote Hannah’s Journey.
I moved to the Colville Reservation with my Native husband in 1988 and studied the Sinyekst (Sinixt) language with an elder. I fell in love with the people and customs of the tight-knit community. But couldn’t stop there. An idea for a story persisted in my head so I decided to write what came to be, Change of Heart.
I wrote for our 4 sons, my future grandchildren, and my nieces and nephews. Because I worked in the school system at that time, it seemed natural to create teen main characters. On the reservation the extended family is of major importance when raising children so I included the love and protection of the extended family and continue to do so in my books and short stories.
The adage is true: It takes a village to raise a child, which is the heartbeat of a reservation.
Several years ago, I wrote Heart of Passion, Book 3 in a trilogy about Spupaleena, a young Native American girl, coming of age and racing horses in the mid-1800s, a time when girls would not think of behaving in such a manner. Hannah Gardner was five then, a young girl in love with her adopted Aunt Spupaleena and having a strong desire to emulate the young woman. In Hannah’s Journey, Hannah is sixteen and has to decide if her future is to include horses, racing, a husband, or returning home to enjoy her young life within the strength and protection of the family unit.
In the mountains of northeast Washington, sixteen-year-old Hannah Gardner fights for her childhood dream––to race horses with her adopted Indian Aunt Spupaleena. Her mother fears Hannah will get hurt. Frustrated with her daughter’s rebellious spirit, she threatens to send her away to Montana to live with an aunt Hannah’s never met.
To escape this perceived punishment, Hannah runs away to the Sinyekst village along the Columbia River to train with Spupaleena. After Hannah’s first race, an Indian boy pulls her off her horse and spews threats. When Running Elk comes to her rescue, Hannah plans their life together and possible marriage. Will this be the pathway to her freedom?
Falling Rain hugged me and boosted me up on my leggy mare, Moonie.
I nodded at her. “Reckon it’s time to give these boys a respectable lickin’ they’ll never forget.”
“Be careful.” She stepped back.
I spun my horse around and found my way to the other racers.
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Carmen Peone lives on the Colville Confederated Indian Reservation with her Native husband, Joe. She had worked with elder, Marguerite Ensminger, for three years learning the Arrow Lakes-Sinyekst- Language and various cultural traditions and legends. 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 family.
Website and blog: http://carmenpeone.com/