Friday, December 16, 2011

Interview with Allison Bruning author of "The Children of the Shawnee" series

Allison Bruning's Bio:

Allison Bruning is the Executive Director of the Kentucky Young Writers Connection, a non-profit agency of writers who promote young authors throughout the state of Kentucky, Allison originally hails from Marion, Ohio.
She is family oriented. Her father, Roland Irving Bruning, was the son of German immigrants who owned Bruning Brothers, a confectionary in Guttenberg, New Jersey. Her mother's family had been in the United States since the 17th century. Allison enjoys family stories and genealogy. Yer educational background includes a BA in Theatre Arts with a minor in Anthropology.

She holds graduate hours in Cultural Anthropology and Education. In 2007 she was named Who's Who Among America's Educators. She is also the recipient of the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards and was named All-American Scholar in 1996.

Allison lives with her husband in an Amish community close to the Ohio River. She is currently involved with DAR, her church, and the Caroll County Library. Her published works include cultural historical articles for under the name Al Bruning , publications in various magazines and on her hubpages blog. 

Calico is part one of the Children of the Shawnee series set in Kentucky before, during and after the American Revolution. She is also working on another series inspired by the life of her great-great grandmother during the turn of the century Ohio. The Heritage Series begins with Elsa. She has other novels in the works as well. Allison's interest includes Ohio Valley history, anthropology, travel, culture, history, camping, hiking, backpacking farm life, and genealogy.

Her expertise are in Native American culture, especially the Shawnee; early Ohio history; genealogy; cultural anthropology; education; and writing. 

Author Interview
Questions and Answers

1. Allison why should readers be interested in Calico your first book in "The Children of the Shawnee" series?

Calico takes the reader into the secretive world of the Shawnee people. Most people are familiar with the Shawnee Native Americans as vicious people who abducted women and tortured men to death. Calico presents the reader with a fresh, new look of these wonderful people. There’s something for everyone in this book; romance, paranormal, Native American spirituality, suspense, and drama.

2. Why did you ever decide to write Calico?

At first I had wanted to present a white girl who wanted to stay with the Shawnee people. During the 18th century, there were several attempts to free the white females that had been captured by the Shawnee people. Some of the women who were rescued would run back to the Shawnee. I wanted to explore why these women would rejoin their captors. As I researched I learned not all the white women had been captured by the Shawnee. Some of the women were daughters of the French Fur trappers. That got me thinking. Calico became the daughter of a French fur trapper who was friends with the Shawnee people.  

3. Do you have an idea of how many books there will be to "The Children of the Shawnee"?

I’m leaning towards between 8-11 books. The Children of the Shawnee series traces the lives of twin sisters Calico and Rose Turners. While Calico is raised within the Shawnee tribe, Rose is raised in France within the royal courts where she lives with the royal family. The books mirror each other. In the last book of the series the twin sisters will be reunited. I am also playing around with the idea of a couple of spin-offs.

4. On the characters of Calico: Which would we seeing more of or still in future books?

 In book two, Pierre will make a brief appearance. You learn more about Pierre’s life in France. You will meet his French wife and children. In book one, Alexander had hinted to the reader of Pierre’s marriage to Christine while he was married to Creek. The reader also was introduced to a character by the name of Melinda in book one. She only appeared in one chapter when Calico was ill with childbed fever. Melinda had told Calico, Rose was engaged to her brother. Calico had recognized her. In Rose, you will meet Melinda and her family. You’ll learn more about the connections between her family and Calico’s. Also in book one, you met a man by the name of Captain Michael Sanders and the girl who was in love with him, Rachel. Michael and Rachel will return in book three. Hawk Song has disappeared at the end of book one but will reappear in book three with a new wife. Yellow Oak may make periodical appearances throughout the series. Alexander and Pierre will always be in all the books. They are pivotal to Rose and Calico’s lives due to the decision to protect the girls. All of book one’s characters, except for Hunting Bear and Private Cowley, will return in book three.

5. On you as an Author: What are the things worthwhile in writing for you? 

I love to write about characters whose voices aren’t often heard. I want my readers to think outside of the box. To me, history isn’t just about facts and dates. It’s about the people who lived during that time and what they felt. Every person on the planet, no matter what time period they lived, has feelings. Sometimes we forget about the people who lived through an historical event or time period. Society tends to think because we have more technology today than our yesteryears that our ancestors weren’t intelligent. But I beg to differ. If it wasn’t for our ancestors we would not be where we are today. Progress is gradual not instantaneous. 

6. On you as a regular person: You love reading, right? What's a book you recently read that was enjoyable?

I love to read! Right now I’m reading Ancestors of Avalon. I love to read Historical Fiction especially with a strong female lead. I recently read Mary called Magadele by Margaret George. I absolutely feel in love with this book. She made Mary’s journey with Jesus so real I thought I was right there with her. I strive to have the same effect with my books. 

7. On you as an Author: What are the subjects or topics you love writing about and why?

I love to write about history through the eyes of a woman. Most of what we read in history books have been written from a man’s point of view. I want the women to have a voice. I also like to write about a historical event through the eyes of a minority. Their voices aren’t often heard. For example, in Calico, you hear about Daniel Boone’s capture; which is something that actually happened; through the eyes of the Shawnee. Most of what you hear about Daniel Boone’s capture is taken from historical records that were written by white people during a time when propaganda was spread that the Shawnee were blood thirsty killers. I wanted the Shawnee to have a voice. I wanted to reader to understand the Shawnee were just protecting their people and ways of life. I love to twist a story so my readers are forced to hear a side from the unspoken voices of that time. 

8. On you as a regular person: Do you ever visit book blogs and if you do what's your favorite thing about them? Do you ever comment on anything?

I tend to visit book blogs from members that are in the Facebook groups I am in. Most of my time is spent on Facebook. Sometimes I will comment on them. I love that book blogs reach a far greater audience than I could ever imagine. 

9. Having your books out there now was there anything that ultimately inspired you to write be it in your childhood or teens?

 I have been writing since I was in Kindergarten. When I was growing up my grandmother noticed my talent for writing. She bought art supplies, paper and pens then would ask me to write her a book. I must have written over twenty books in my childhood. I still have them today. She was my greatest inspiration. 

10. Is there something you'd love to mention on the blog? 

Never give up on chasing your dreams and never let them go once you have achieved them.

Thank you for answering all of my various questions, Allison.

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