Last winter I was invited to speak to the Butts County Historical Society about the merits of reading historical fiction. I was surprised at the size of the large group. My presentation was well received. It was at the close of the meeting they told me they had another reason for inviting me. They wanted me to write a young adult book about Chief William McIntosh. They convinced me of the need because school kids come to members looking for information for reports. There isn’t anything for school kids about McIntosh. I said I would “look into it.” I might not be the right person for this job, but if I can’t do it, I’ll find someone, was my answer.
Butts County, in middle Georgia, was dead center in the Muscogee Creek Nation. We have a lake house there; but I never knew that. My granddaughter graduated from McIntosh High School in the next county. I never guessed it was named for an Indian Chief. I’m so glad I accepted that invitation.
A member of their group took me to the Village of Indian Springs and shared the history of every artifact and broken treaty in the museum. I bought an expensive county history from DAR. The next week National Geographic aired a documentary of the Indians of the Southeast. I went to Kentucky and discovered a provision stop on the Trail of Tears. Chief McIntosh had been there. I went to Biloxi and saw the Poarch Creek Reservation and Museum. I stopped, watched the movie, asked a dozen questions, bought a couple more books. It was as if all the research I needed was being delivered to me on a platter. I told the Historical Society I would attempt to write the book. Was all this information always at my fingertips and I never noticed it?
I’ve become a member of the Museum of the Cherokee nearby my home in NC, joined the Historical Society of Butts County, GA, attended my first Pow Wow, and for this year, 2015, have been soaking up all things Native American. I wrote, researched and rewrote for most of the year. The grind is over, the book is written. The polishing continues until it goes to contract with a publisher, hopefully by the first of the year. I’ve submitted it to a university press in that area.
I’m surprised every day to awaken and rediscover that I’ve written books. I’m surprised to have learned about Chief McIntosh and the Muscogee Creek Indians, and written a book about him. And I’m always surprised how much fun it is to learn new things, and discover new ways to write about it. McIntosh Summer, the working title, uses time travel. This is a brand new way for me to write and a total surprise! I do love surprises.