Contributed by Bonnye Matthews
When my first novel, Ki’ti’s Story, 75,000 BC came out, I was as excited as any new novelist, but I had more than entertainment as purpose. I wanted to share what my five years of research has shown me. I was convinced that much of what we’re taught regarding the peopling of the Americas was wrong, and I couldn’t understand why we taught fantasy as fact.
It disturbed something deep within me. I wasn’t credentialed for a non-fiction battle. It’s already been done and done well. I decided to try writing fiction, something for which I had no training nor experience, but there was no systematic novel series on the peopling of the Americas. I had taught grammar and literature in public school way in the past. I hoped it would help.
I remember meeting a man, an Alaska native, at a book signing in Wasilla. We talked about the people that had been coming to Alaska far earlier than supposed. As we talked he finally stopped abruptly and said three times, “You’ve validated what my grandfather told me.” It was one of those moments I find at book signings. I call them “appointments.” His comments validated what was guiding my writing.
The five books of my Winds of Change Series on the Peopling of the Americas before the Ice Age are completed. It’s been a labor of love. I mix media with the novels with two DVDs and three to go. I just took the illustrations for a coloring book to accompany Ki’ti’s Story, 75,000 BC to the publisher. It’ll be out by July. A coloring book? I’m no artist. This will need some validation.
I usually don’t need validation for my work. Throughout life, I’ve known whether my work was the best I could do. But I was in a foreign field. I have a degree, but it’s English—Education. That’s not exactly archaeology or anthropology. But validation came. For illustration it remains to be known.
• In 2013, Ki’ti’s Story, 75,000 BC won first place for fiction.
• In 2014, Manak-na’s Story, 75,000 BC won first place for fiction.
• In 2015 Tuksook’s Story, 35,000 BC won first place for fiction and Zamimolo’s Story, 50,000 BC won second place for fiction.
• In 2016 The SealEaters, 20,000 BC won first place for fiction all from the annual contests at the Alaska Professional Communicators.
These were judged by an award winning writer and radio host from the east coast. The text of the review on SealEaters can be found at www.booksbybonnye.com under the Reviews tab. That fifth review recognizes the series.
In addition, the Midwest Book Review covered the entire five book series in their April 2016 newsletter. To read it, google www.midwestbookreview.com, click on Wisconsin Bookwatch, click on April 2016, click on fiction, and scroll to the end of fiction. I’ve been told that the reviewer has studied the peopling of the Americas for thirty years.
Frankly, both reviews overwhelmed me. They validated the work in ways that this time I could not. Instead of getting big headed, I’ve been humbled beyond anything I ever experienced of this nature.
If you’re interested in taking a look at the books or buying one or more, here’s my schedule for the present:
May 14: Fireside Books Palmer 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm book signing; 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm dinner at Independence Hotel and Restaurant in the Banquet Hall. Go to Fireside’s website for details on dinner (www.goodbooksbadcoffee.com). I have a presentation there and time for questions, sharing, and book signings.
May 20: I’ll be at NeighborWorks with book signing from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. NeighborWorks is across the street from Fred Meyers on S. Cobb at the intersection of W. Dahlia in Palmer. This is a fascinating place. NeighborWorks promotes affordable rental housing, resident services, community partnerships, homeownership opportunities, and real estate development. You can find out more about NeighborWorks while there.
May 27: I’ll be at the Talkeetna Alaska Lodge from 5:00 pm to 8:30 pm signing books and doing a presentation.
June 6: I’ll be at UAA Book Store from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm with a presentation.
June 16: I’ll be at the Talkeetna Alaska Lodge from 5:00 to 8:30 pm signing books and doing a presentation.
July 9 and July 23: I’ll be at NeighborWorks signing books from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.