In conjunction with Indie BRAG
posted every Friday
To be a little different from the usual 'meet the author'
let's meet a character...
Q: What genre is the novel and what is it about?
A: Mist-chi-mas: A Novel of Captivity is historical fiction set in the Pacific NW 1860s. It’s a love story too. Forgive me, if I blush. Comportment, you understand, is very important in my time. Here’s what the story is about:
In Mist-chi-mas, everyone is bound to something.Jeannie Naughton never intended to run away from her troubles, but in 1860, a woman’s reputation is everything. A scandal not of her own making forces her to flee England for an island in the Pacific Northwest, a territory jointly occupied by British and American military forces. At English Camp, Jeannie meets American Jonas Breed. Breed was once a captive and slave — a mistchimas — of the Haida, and still retains close ties to the Coast Salish Indians.
But the inhabitants of the island mistrust Breed for his friendship with the tribes. When one of Breed’s friends is murdered, he is quickly accused of a gruesome retaliation. Jeannie knows he’s innocent, and plans to go away with him, legitimizing their passionate affair with a marriage. But when she receives word that Breed has been killed in a fight, Jeannie’s world falls apart. Although she carries Jonas Breed’s child, she feels she has no choice but to accept a proposal from another man.
Twenty years later, Jeannie finds reason to believe that Breed may still be alive. She must embark on a journey to uncover the truth, unaware that she is stirring up an old and dangerous struggle for power and revenge…
There! Something grunted, the voice edged in pain. Her horse began to tremble and put its ears back. Jeannie looked behind her, but saw nothing. She tapped the horse with her riding crop and went forward. The trees thinned out. She could see the stony beach below where someone had pulled a small dugout canoe up on the shore. Water lapped at the canoe’s stern.
Jeannie was so focused on the canoe that she missed the crashing black shape of a boar charging through the woods, its red mouth open with curled yellow tusks aimed at her horse’s legs. By the time she heard its shrill squeal, it had hammered into her horse, knocking her off her perch. The horse neighed and reared, tearing her last hold on the reins away. A final buck and she was falling down the ledge, rolling over and over again. She screamed as she frantically tried to grab onto anything to stop her tumble, but it was over fast as she started when she landed hard on the ground. Dazed for the moment, she finally staggered to her feet. Her sleeves were torn, her skirt ripped so that she could see her mud-stained petticoats. Her hair fell out of its pins.
Gasping, Jeannie limped away toward the safety of the canoe. Above her the horse and the boar continued to thrash around. Suddenly, the low ridge exploded with broken branches and pebbles and the roan fell down just feet from where she had been standing. Close behind came the biggest black boar Jeannie had ever seen. As the horse and boar untangled, she saw for the first time that the horse was hurt badly. The skin on its cheek was torn, leaving patches of bloody flesh beneath; its legs were bleeding from gashes. Both horse and boar squealed with hurt and anger as they righted themselves.
A peculiar feeling of lightness came over her. The pit of her stomach became cold. She could barely think, but she knew she was in extreme danger. Shaking, she backed up against the canoe and pushed it out into the water, ignoring the chilly water of the channel soaking her boots and skirt. When it was afloat, she turned in time to see the horse separate from the boar and buck its way down the beach.
“Go, go,” Jeannie shouted as she pushed the canoe back further, then realized that only the horse was making its escape. The boar was now trotting back, its little eyes trained on her.
There is blood all over its face and tusks, she thought. She hopped and scrambled into the canoe, her skirt catching at the gunwales. The boar charged.
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