As I wait for the release date of my debut novel, I'd like to begin introducing the characters and provide a little bit of background information about the book itself.

For the most part, the characters are people who wander in and out of my mind and represent my heritage as well as that of my husband, as we are both from Cherokee roots. There are also some names in my book who are real people, instrumental in the history of The People.

One real person, who is named just a few times in the first chapter, is Annewake. That name can be traced back on my mother's side of the family and I just connected with it when I'd stumbled on it. Another pair of names that I took along my journey are those of Elias and Harriet Boudinot. Elias, a Cherokee himself, was the first editor of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper (the first Native American owned-and-operated newspaper) and an important figure in the history of the Cherokee on many different levels.

Another name that I brought along with me was Sequoyah, who literally invented the written language of the Cherokee. He came up with the symbols and syllabary chart, linking each sound/syllable to a character in the chart, forming the words that we use to this day. When taking on on the task of learning how to read, write, speak and understand the written language (Tsalagi), it is very much like taking on two languages at the same time. The student must learn and memorize the 60+ symbols as well as the sound each one makes, along with learning the full pronunciation. (I will be writing more about Tsalagi in the days to come.)

Beginning with next Wednesday, I will introduce two of my book's characters. First up: Rain herself and her best friend, Little Deer. I will provide their names as written in Tsalagi and talk about them as individual people.

Let's make it a party! See ya then -