I am delighted to welcome American author Mary Lois Sanders who is following in a family tradition and writes historical fiction, one of my favourite genres.
Here, she talks about the inspiration for her book, The Vision Seeker - a project that took her on a 14-year journey.
A native Texan, she is the daughter of a Baptist preacher and a Baptist preacher’s daughter—Dr. Ray and Jester B. Summers, both of whom were published authors in their special fields of expertise. They both loved music as well. Perhaps her love of both writing and music are in her genes, who knows? But she grew up loving to write, and also found she had a talent for singing. To this end, Mary Lois worked on her high school newspaper, wrote stories she never showed to anyone, and took voice and piano lessons.
The voice lessons took, the piano just barely passed. As she tells it, her most obvious talent, then, upon entering college, was singing, so she chose to major in music, with dreams of someday singing at the Met.
Two degrees from Baylor University and one degree from seminary followed—a Bachelor of Music with a Voice Performance Certificate, a Master of Music in Vocal Performance and Music Literature; and a Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) in Church Music/Vocal Performance.
Her writing skills had become focused on academic articles and papers. After teaching for quite a few years, Mary Lois married and continued to act as minister of music in several churches, while beginning again to focus on writing, this time Bible Study curriculum for children and their teachers. Soon she branched out into the secular markets, with nonfiction articles in Cobblestone, Calliope and other periodicals. Her short stories have appeared in Boy’s Life and several anthologies.
The Vision Seeker is her first novel published. She is planning on two more in the trilogy, based on the history of the Tuscarora. She’s also working on a Revolutionary War series for middle grade readers. Down from the Mountains is the first book in the Timothy Michael O’Hara Adventure Series.
Mary Lois is a member of SCBWI, Florida Writer’s Association (FWA), and Editorial Freelancers Association (EFA). She’s also Publisher/Managing Editor of Creative Writer’s Notebook, a monthly newsletter for writers, and owner of Court Jester Publications.
For girls of the Tuscarora Nation in the Carolinas (1711), playing lacrosse is forbidden, but Running-Girl (13) doesn’t care. She’s not a maiden yet, and besides, she’s absolutely no good at women’s chores.
But Running-Girl is afraid. She’s having flash-visions—dead bodies strewn about the lacrosse field; her village bursting into flames. She tells no one, but the visions become more detailed during her Maidenhood seclusion. They show the death and destruction of her village and her parents.
When she shares her visions with the Clan Mothers of the village, her name is changed to Vision-Seeker in honor of the gift Creator has given her.
However, her Clan Mother cannot help her interpret her visions and many in the village don’t believe her … until the attack comes. Then she is left the oldest of 20 children and must lead them to a promised home, one she has seen in her visions. But can she?
INSPIRATION BEHIND THE VISION SEEKER
Mary Lois discovered the Tuscarora War history (1711-1713) doing research on Native Americans in the Appalachian Mountains, Tennessee, and the Carolinas.
"The history of this war and the treatment of the Tuscarora at the hands of the British intrigued me," she told me, "and I began to look at ways I could tell the story from the view point of a girl who experiences it.
"I started with a short story, but that wasn’t adequate. So research began and outlining and character descriptions. When I finally started writing the story I needed help … with names, customs, oral history. I got the help when Francene Peterson, Clan Mother of the White Bear Clan, offered to be my principle reader and act as liaison with the other Clan Mothers of the Tuscarora Nation in upstate New York.
"With their help, I began a fourteen-year journey. The result is this first book of the proposed trilogy that will tell the Tuscarora story."
Where can readers find The Vision Seeker, a Tale of the Tuscarora
Mary Lois has also written Down from the Mountains, a Timothy Michael O’Hara Adventure – an historical novel for children ages 9-12 (Middle Grades), and first book in a Revolutionary War Series3
Best Friends Forever, the Adventures of Freddie & Stumper – with Linda Chapman, Illustrated by Charlene Meeker – A Chapter Book for grades 1-3.
You can find out more about Mary Lois and her work by visiting her website:
You'll be suprised just what you can achieve!