Thursday, November 2, 2017

Historical fiction can reveal hidden truths

     Ralph Waldo Emerson is among the inspirations I had for writing the historical novel, Winter of the Metal People.
     From reading the Spanish chronicles about Francisco Vázquez de Coronado, who led the first European expedition into the American Southwest in 1540-42, it became immediately obvious that the Spanish side of the story was being told over and over. What was lacking, however, was the Pueblo Indian viewpoint.
     The expedition led to the first named Indian war in what is now the United States — the Tiguex War (pronounced TEE-wesh). But how could the expedition or war be understood without learning both sides of the story?
     Emerson's quote of "Fiction reveals truths that reality obscures" helped me to realize that the Pueblo Indian side of the story could be told with plausible narrative filling in the deliberate gaps in the Spanish chronicles. The natives never wrote their viewpoint, nor do they talk about it very much even today. After nearly 500 years, I told their perspective for the first time in Winter of the Metal People based on the best historical, archaological and anthropology research since, interviews with Pueblo Indians, and logical assumptions based on what little is known.

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