Warrior on the Western Waters follows a young woman who’s abducted and taken to an angry Shawnee village where she must survive the dangerous west to return home. What were some sources that informed this novel’s development?
I loved researching the Shawnee culture and history online during the 18th century. There are many resources available, and some have updated since my access. (Apologies if I’ve misused or misrepresented Shawnee in my book. I meant respect and educational purposes)
Thirteen Moons on Turtles Back Instruction Guide found at: https://cdn.shopify.com
Shawnee Moons-The Cycle of Life found at: http://www.fantasy-epublications.com
Shawnee Folk-Lore by J. Spencer found at: http://www.jtor.org/stable/534746
Shawnee Mythology [archive] found at: http://www.bigorrin.org/archive123.htm
Shawnee Language found at: https://estoo-nsn.gov/learn-shawnee/
Research related to the location of Fort Boonesborough came from online reports by Nancy O’Malley.
Archaeological Investigations at Fort Boonesborough found at: http://www.academia.edu/7374565/Archaelolgical_Investigations_at_Fort_Boonesborough
Searching for Boonesborough found at: http://www.academia.edu/20228734/Searching_for_Boonesborough
Books edited by Neal O’Hammon gave wonderful first-person accounts. Also, his book co-written by Richard Taylor.
Floyd, John, The Life and Letters of a Frontier Surveyor. Edited by Neal O’Hammon. Louisville, KY: Butler Books, 2013.
Boone, Nathan 1781-1856, My Father Daniel Boone. Edited by Neal O’ Hammon. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, paperback edition, 2012.
O’ Hammon, Neal and Richard Taylor, Virginia’s Western War 1775-1786. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2002.
I enjoyed Mary’s character evolution throughout the story. What were some obstacles that you felt were important to defining her character?
Mary’s persona at the beginning of the story is one of vulnerability due to past trauma. She expects protection from the Boonesborough settlement and her father.
When ripped from her family in the dark, she must recall survival skills and rely on herself.
No one can rescue her. She must overcome fear of the Piqua Shawnee before she can learn their language, customs, and worth. Respect grows into bonds of friendship, but she longs to be reunited with her family.
When tragedy strikes the village, an evil shaman blames Mary. Friends betray her, but she refuses to accept marriage to a vile loyalist trader. Mary risks death fleeing down turbulent rivers and creeks.
A fiercely independent, self-reliant young woman arrives at a patriot camp. Wounded, but not willing to wait for an escort from the scout she knows as William McGuire, she determines to make it back to her family. William insists on accompanying her. A confrontation on the way ends with a curse that threatens her future.
What were some ideas that were important for you to convey in this book?
I’m building my series by weaving in West Virginia and Kentucky historical events during the American Revolutionary war. In this installment, I’m showing the Shawnee side of things and how the British secured an alliance with them, thus seeding the devastating storm forming in the north and about to blow down from Fort Detroit in the real and fictional Mary Shirley’s future.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Palisades of the Heart (Dangerous Loyalties Series Book Four) Sweet Historical Romance set in Western Virginia at Cooks Fort on Indian Creek. Strong-willed, Mary Shirley and the stubborn scout, William McGuire clash over Kentucky territory.
Mary says she will never return.
William desires her when she can wed, but longs to raise fast horses in the fertile grasses of Kentucky. A man from Mary’s past arrives to complicate matters. Mary must resolve the fear of a spoken curse before she can trust.
I hope to finish and publish by the end of the year.
In a sad note: My publisher died a few days ago, freezing her LLC company. I have no idea if my paperbacks can still be purchased from Amazon, or other places. I’m not sure when or if I’ll receive royalties from the eBooks or audiobooks.
However, I have eight sets of the series in my stock available on my Square Store called Book by Phyllis: Home | Books by Phyllis A. Still (square.site)
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Warrior on the Western Waters is the third book in the intense and thrilling young adult Dangerous Loyalties series by Phyllis A. Still. Set in 1775 in Boonesborough, we follow a young girl named Mary Shirley who lives in a settlement that is supposed to be a safe haven from the Loyalists. Mary warns the people in the settlement of a traitor who is planning to attack them, but no one believes her. She is taken hostage by the Loyalists who seek revenge against her father and is taken to a Shawnee village where she stays while they await the surrender of her father.
What I have come to realize about Phyllis Still’s writing is that there is a simple eloquence to it. It has a way of leading you through a story with simple language which leaves your mind free to imagine the intriguing world that she is creating in her book.
This is an emotional roller-coaster of a story and the author effortlessly captures the intense emotions that each character is feeling; which reminds me of the emotional rumination of Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games. What drew me into this impassioned historical fiction story was the smart and nimble dialogue. The reader feels like they are alongside Mary, feeling the terror and worry she feels. The dialogue feels authentic and the characters are much more believable because of it. I was easily able to connect with Mary’s character as she starts out as an innocent child, but must be strong in order to survive.
A fun fact; the author is an eighth-generation descendant of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Mary Shirley McGuire is the muse behind the Dangerous Loyalties series and our main protagonist. Even though this is a work of fiction, you can really tell that the author wanted to do her ancestors justice with this book, and I feel like she does exactly that.
Even though this book is part of a series, I think it can still stand on its own as an intrepid coming-of-age historical adventure story. I don’t think readers will need to read books one and two in the series in order to follow Mary through this absorbing story. The author expertly provides just enough background information to catch the reader up before setting them off on this new adventure.
Warrior on the Western Waters by Phyllis A. is a captivating historical fiction novel that is a must read for history buffs and will be an emotionally-resonant story for everyone else.
Pages: 197 | ASIN: B082TWBP3P
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Defiance on Indian Creek is a quiet, but enthralling read by Phyllis A. Still. We follow a smart, courageous thirteen-year-old girl, Mary on the frontier in West Virginia on the eve of the Revolutionary war. Her father comes home with news that disrupts Mary’s world; talk of loyalty to the unfair King and moving to far off Kentucky. The relationship with her father is stretched as she finds him mired in plots and implications of possibly being a traitor or even a spy. Mary is forced of her own loyalties to her father, family and country as the weeks go on until she is asked to make an impossible choice.
Overall, Still has clearly done her research in this fine YA novel. In the tradition of historical fiction before it, Defiance on Indian Creek takes a quiet frontier family and throws them in the forefront against an increasingly dangerous time. Reading these pages gave me the feeling I was actually there in the reeds of Indian Creek alongside Mary and her Papa. The maps included at the front of the book were helpful in understanding the setting and getting even more of a feel of what this era felt to those early colonists.
It isn’t often such a tale is spun on the frontier, but also invokes the greater happenings on the east coast. Mary is a fun protagonist to follow as the story progresses, because Still is able to give the reader the feeling of anguish from the girl and her struggles over choosing to place trust in her father and the lack thereof.
Being a YA novel the story itself is pretty straightforward and does not beat around the bush when it comes to finding out certain things. Mary herself seems to grasp things beyond her years, but her parents are not the usual inept adults that are so often present in YA novels. And being a young girl, who genuinely wants her father to be okay and her family to be safe, the reader can only root for her.
There are few books that I could remember for the relationships it creates between characters, but Still has managed to make the daughter-father relationship in this book a special one. Especially, since the tension between them is so palpable as the book goes on.
If there is any criticism for the book that can be offered it would be for something that is almost uncontrollable. It concerns the background conflict between the Colonies and the Crown. This is what gives historical fiction its flavor, but it does overshadow the very personal, family struggle between Mary and her father. This is the only real issue with the storyline, beyond this Defiance on Indian Creek will be a pleasurable read to any person who enjoys YA and a painstakingly researched historical fiction.
Pages: 212 | ASIN: B01HBV3VOW
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