Today’s guest blogger is Sharon Sala/Dinah McCall. As the author of over 75 books, Sharon is a New York Times, USA Today and PW Bestselling authors. She had won many awards including the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award. If you don’t follow her on FB, you should because she writes the most interesting posts. Her newest books is The Dove by Dinah McCall and btw, that’s her granddaughter on the cover.
Not everyone knows why I incorporate Native Americans into so many of my stories, but for the uninformed, I would like to share.
My daddy’s paternal grandmother was Cherokee, and his maternal grandmother was part Cree, and while I might look like this fair-skinned, blue-eyed white child, every facet of my soul belongs to The People. I identify with the Native way of life and the spiritual beliefs in every way that matters. When I six years old we moved into an old frame house down on the river
south of the town where I grew up so I could catch a bus to start first grade, and every morning when I walked the half mile from our house up to the main road to catch the bus, a lone wolf walked parallel on the rise that ran alongside my path. It never tried to hurt me or come closer and for some reason, I wasn’t afraid. By winter, it had disappeared, and I never thought much of it until years later when I was telling the story. As I spoke of the wolf, an Indian man who was standing in the group suddenly grabbed my arm and very insistently told me that was a powerful sign; that it meant I had been marked by The Old Ones and that I needed to pay attention; that I had a special purpose to fulfill. It was startling to think I had any purpose at all beyond being my father’s daughter and my mother’s child. Little did I know that the wolf, which happens to be the totem for the Cherokee people, had put me on a path far more winding and far-reaching than anything I could ever have envisioned.
Now as I write my stories, I have a sense of responsibility to carry the torch that was given to me. My stories come to me in dreams, with complete plots, and with dialogue and in color, and they are as real to me as going to the movies would be for you. All I have to do is wake up and put them on paper so I can share my dreams with my readers. Sometimes the spirits give me stories that I don’t realize serve a certain purpose until long after they have been printed, sold, and read and reread countless times.
As I’m sitting with laptop in hand, I don’t feel like I’m writing. I’m not struggling to find what words comes next, or what needs to happen. I don’t see the words I’m typing as they appear on the screen. I see the story unfolding in my head in movie fashion, and I have learned to translate what I see into words. It’s a good thing I can type fast, because sometimes the movie wants to go faster than my fingers, and I have to take a breath and slow down. Some people call that channeling; like I’m being given the story. I don’t know what to call it. I just know it is my process; it is my gift.
Being a storyteller, which is what I call myself, rather than a writer, is a great thing within the native culture. They are the keepers of the past and the historians for the future, and I am forever grateful for my native soul and for the path on which I walk.
Bottom Line: OMG! Today is Oreo Cookie Day…like I need a reason. Pass the milk, please.