A Local Author Writes His First Western Novel | News


Writing runs in Debra Smith’s family. Her grandmother and great-grandmothers were playwrights and now she is following in their footsteps, having just written her first novel.

“Running Fawn: Sacred Ground” is a very varied Western story. Set in 1885 in the Old West, the story follows a vindictive winery owner who wants land he can’t have and a young Native girl who falls in love with an outlaw. law.

“The winery owner discovers that the land is protected by Cherokee spirit warriors,” Smith said. “They protect the land he wants with vengeance. And then, a young native girl falls in love with an outlaw, but their love is difficult because they come from such different worlds. It has a bit of everything, I wanted it to be different and unique from other westerns.

The book also talks a lot about Cherokee culture. Smith, who is a Cherokee herself, wanted to show the sides of the Cherokee that Hollywood movies tend to get wrong or ignore.

“I use some of the language of the book,” she said. “And I showed more of their spiritual side; it’s not just about attacking and sitting in teepees. In fact, during my research, I found that they rarely attack wagons and never attack at night. I also wanted to show their ceremonies. Thus, the book deals with baptism ceremonies. Cherokees often have two names: the one they are given at birth and the one they receive as they grow older. They believe that the name changes with the person.

Smith hopes the use of real-life information with fiction holds readers’ interest.

“It’s great to learn a little more about the Cherokee, but also fun to read some interesting fiction,” she said.

The inspiration for the book came from Smith’s mother, who loves westerns.

“She’s always been a fan,” Smith said. “So I wrote the book for her and dedicated it to her. It’s something we both appreciate.

In addition to their love of the genre, the book dedication also states that the two “share (a) a love of horses and the mountains in the fall…(and) enjoy going to rodeos, harness racing, and horse pulls”.

Smith’s research for the book was primarily aimed at keeping things accurate to the period.

“You don’t want to have things in the story that aren’t from the period,” she said. “So I had to research timelines for a lot of things. I had to see what kind of weapons were used or when stagecoaches were used. I learned a lot through my research that I didn’t know before. There’s more details there than the history books or Hollywood tell you.

The book took about nine months to write and was eventually published by Light Switch Press.

“It took them two months to decide to release it,” Smith said. “They were a bit hesitant about it being a western because those have fallen out of favor and are fading. But I’m glad they did, because it doesn’t hurt d trying to introduce a new generation of readers to books from this period.

The book is currently available on Amazon and at Book Nook in Indiana.

If things go according to plan, it won’t be Smith’s last.

“I have plans for several more books,” she said.

These include more witty stories, a spy thriller, and a murder mystery, to name a few. She also hopes to write one that uses her mother’s experiences as a truck driver.

“I don’t stick to one genre,” she added. “I don’t want to become stale as a writer because if I’m bored writing it, you’ll be bored reading it.”


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