Thursday, January 4, 2018

Big Announcement!

I'm excited to announce that my first novel, "Belle o' the Waters," will be published by Mascot Books. This novel has been in the works for nine long years and I am so happy to finally be able to share it with readers. I just signed the contract with Mascot last week, so we don't have a publication date yet, but it is likely to be later in 2018.

The idea for this novel came to me from several different directions, but one of the most influential was a story my grandmother told to me. She's the one on the right in this picture, taken in 1946. The other women were cousins of her husband, my grandfather. When I asked what was behind this photo, she always said, "Oh, we was just actin' up," which, as you can see, is exactly what she wrote, in ink, on the front of the photo.

Grandma had been born into a Mormon family in a rural area of Idaho and, like all Mormon kids, was due to be baptized when she turned eight. She refused, however, kicking and screaming, and wouldn't let her older sisters dress her for the baptism. She told me she was convinced that if she allowed them to baptize her, she would have to marry Brigham Young.

This, mind you, was around about 1920, so Brigham Young, the great patriarch of the church, the man who had led a group of settlers west to settle in Salt Lake and establish what they believed and hoped would be there own country in the midst of another, had been dead for decades. His legacy, however, seems to have lived on in the stories that little girls whispered to each other, passed down from older friends to younger ones, for all that time. This second photo, by the way, is of my great Aunt Lute with her two little brothers. The one on the right is my grandfather, and they are all standing next to the cabin at Whiskey Springs, where our family homestead was located.

One thing I never understood was how the strong, competent, self-assured women I grew up around, women like my grandmother and aunts, had come out of what everybody believed was a patriarchal culture, where women were considered as not much more than a man's property. I couldn't figure it out, and I finally had to write a story about a girl, born into a polygamous family in this culture, and watch her grow up to understand where that strength came from. The story I wrote, "Belle o' the Waters," helped me understand what I probably already knew, at some level deep inside: her strength came from the land itself, and her toughness grew out of the necessity to live in that harsh land, protect your children, and make a life for yourself in what was truly the wild West at that time.

I will keep you posted about progress with the book, but in the meantime, I have a lot more old pictures to post and a lot more family stories to relate, so stay tuned for more!

8 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Raima! I would have enjoyed meeting your Grandmother.

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    1. Thank you! Yes, she was great. And a great influence on many of us in her large family.

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  2. This sounds amazing! Can't wait to read and review. Robin (my hubster) told me about your novel as I love how regular women, the women who build our culture, are collectively writing the first history of women. These are the stories we need to fuel our rebuilding of a world gone mad.

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    1. Thanks, Nancy - I think I've got you on Twitter. And now on FB! Will keep everybody posted on this book as it goes through the publication process. Thank you for your project, too. Sounds fascinating!

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  3. Holy man, this is going to be good! Love that photo of badass women!

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    1. Thanks, Sue! And I totally agree with you about the photo. :)

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  4. I can't wait to read it, Raima. Sounds interesting and powerful.

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    1. Thanks, Jenny! And thanks for leaving a comment on my little blog. :)

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