Today I #interview #RubyStandingDeer, the #bestsellingauthor of #CIRCLES, the first book in her #NativeAmerica series. The second book, #SPIRALS, has also garnered much praise. Ruby kindly consented to share her thoughts on books, and on life, with us.
Interviewer: What inspired you to write a series about #NativeAmerica several hundred years ago?
Ruby Standing Deer: I dream a lot. In this dream, a Native elder sat in a chair across from me. He crossed his arms and started into my eyes. “Why don’t you get off your butt and write a book?” he grinned then faded. I jerked up and asked, “What book?” No answer.
I started to drift off and only moments later, I heard a woman telling me about herself, and about her grandson. At three AM I found myself sitting in my chair with the laptop open. It did not take long before I had written a chapter, then two. This is how #CIRCLES was born.
Interviewer: I noticed that your books do not contain explicit sexual content, nor do they have excessive violence. What moved you to write without the sex and violence when many books today have a lot of both?
Ruby Standing Deer: Sex is a scared, private matter to be shared by a couple. Among my people it was not spoken of. I kept this tradition.
Violence, in ancient North America among the various tribes and clans, was not absent by any means. Many times, however, differences were worked out through talk. Even to garner honor in battle, it was not always necessary to kill the enemy. In fact, it was considered far braver to ‘touch’ an enemy than to outright kill them. It was called coup (pronounced coo).
Today, too many books are filled with violence, revenge and hatred. Isn’t there enough? Must it be that way for entertainment as well? Violence is at the core of many television shows, the news, and in real life, in your neighborhood. Why must it be in all of the stories we read? Isn’t it enough to enjoy #humor, #spirituality, and just relax and read a good story where death is not the central theme?
Interviewer: I write #mysteries, you know the usual mayhem and #murder, but you’re right. There are times it is nice to sit down with a book that centers around things other than death and killing, and sex, which often confused with love both in real life and in novels.
Tell me, Ruby, who is your favorite character, and why?
Ruby Standing Deer: Bright Sun Flower and Feather Floating In Water–who becomes known as Shining Light– are two characters who remind me of myself. I am the grandmother and the grandson put in one body. I may not have the powerful dream visions they do, but I do experience dreams, and I listen to the Spirits when they speak.
Bright Sun Flower loves life and so does her grandson. They see so much more than others do by just opening up. She is a teacher, and a guide. Throughout the story she tries to pass on her knowledge to the next generation. Like Bright Sun Flower, I also have dedicated my life to passing on knowledge.
In my books, I try to provide something that many #kids today are without: a connection to #tradition. Unfortunately, most kids spend a lot of time in day care centers and other care centers because both of their parents must work. Grandparents, unlike the old days, are often too far away to interact with the kids, even if they aren’t working out-of-the-home jobs. Consequently, the kids lose that connection to the past, to their own traditions.
Once kids learned from their grandparents and their parents about sacred things, about everyday ways of looking at the world, about how to value and respect all living things. Times have changed and kids are no longer given that. In my books, I show how it once was and hope that some of the teachings that Feather and Bright Sun Flower share will reach across the pages and touch the kids.
Feather is full of energy, curiosity, and has a lust for life. He has to grow up much faster than a child should. He and I share this, as we also share Feather’s curiosity about life. And, heh, maybe we share his mouth, too.
Interviewer: You have published CIRCLES and the second book of the series, Spirals. Are you currently working on a third book in this series? If so, can you give us a “back cover blurb” about it and when you expect it to be released?
Ruby Standing Deer: I am two-thirds finished with STONES, the third book. Part of my childhood was spent on the back of a horse. It was there that I learned what true freedom really meant. STONES became much more than a book for me after reading about a man who raced to the wild horse auction, not to get the best horses for his ranch, but to get the best for the slaughter house. Each fall there are many roundups of these magnificent, beautiful, Sacred animals. Many are pregnant and give birth in the holding pens. Their foals die. The slaughter men call the horses and their young a waste of space.
Interviewer: Wow, that’s sad. It’s my understanding that many of these #wildhorses are grazing on public lands that have been leased for extremely low rates to large ranchers and that is where some of the conflict comes in: the ranchers don’t want the wild horses, a part of America’s heritage, to eat the food from the public lands. They want the grass for their cattle and their horses which then increases their profits.
So, STONES illuminates the slaughter of #wildhorses. What’s the rest of the story?
Ruby Standing Deer: STONES is about more than rescuing mustangs from a band who tracks them down for the hairy-faces (what they call whites in the story). The Hairy-faces don’t want Native People to acquire mustangs as it would increase their ability to resist the influx of the whites.
This story is about the journey of two young people, Singing Stone and Dove, both of whom are following sacred tradition. Singing Stone is protecting a small herd of mustangs from the Likes To Fight People and the Hairy-faces (whites so named because of the hair on the men’s faces.)
Far away in the Land of Tall Trees, Dove, the daughter of the Holy Man, Shining Light, dreams of the mustang boy. Through visions, she is told that she must go to Singing Stone and help him protect the #mustangs. Another dream tells her she must hurry for danger is closing in on the mustangs.
Interviewer: Will this third book complete the series, or will it run longer?
Ruby Standing Deer: I am not sure if there will be a fourth book. It depends on where I am led. I listen to my dreams, take long walks with my dogs and set my mind free. It is those times I ‘see’ what to do next.
Interviewer: How did you find your publisher? Did you query a lot of publishers, or find one right away?
Ruby Standing Deer: My editor/publisher, and I were in a writing group together a long time ago. The writing group, we both learned, was a scam. You bought ‘tokens’ from the site’s creators. Then, you took the tokens and bid on people in auctions to have them review your chapter. Unfortunately, except my editor/publisher, there was not one writer in the group.
Interviewer: What piece of advice would you give to new writers about working with a publisher?
Ruby Standing Deer: Find one who will listen to you, not tell you what he/she wants. Indie publishers are more likely to work with you, listen to you and then advise you.
Visit Ruby’s website at: http://www.rubystandingdeer.com
Connect with Ruby on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ruby.deer