Mama Diaries

Monday, October 14, 2019

Guest Author, Charles Suddeth




Today I have author, Charles Suddeth, at my pad. He's here to tell us about himself and about his newly-released middle-grade book Stone Man and the Trail of Tears.

Hi, Charles. Tell us about yourself and how you became a writer.


I have published poetry, picture books, middle reader’s books, young adult thrillers, and adult mysteries in English, Cherokee, and Turkish. I am active in SCBWI and Green River Writers. I lead a monthly SCBWI meeting in Louisville, and I teach for the Jefferson County Schools.

I started writing poetry and short stories when I was 11, and I haven’t stopped. A few years ago, I decided that I shouldn’t keep the stories for myself. I joined 2 writing groups: Green River Writers and SCBWI. They helped me hone my writing.


Wow! Sounds like you are a busy guy!

Where did you get your idea for Stone Man?

My great-great-grandfather, Bill Pennington was born about 1830 in a Cherokee village, in Kentucky. His family moved north of the Ohio River during the Trail of Tears to a rural area just north of Charlestown, Indiana, 30 miles north of Louisville, Kentucky where a mixture of whites and Meti (French/Shawnee mixed-bloods) lived.

It sounds like your family experienced first-hand what it was like on the Trail of Tears.

What do you want readers to take away from reading your book?

Most of all, I want readers to have fun–this is an adventure. I also want them to have an introduction to Cherokee culture and to know how the Trail of Tears tore apart people's lives. And I want them to appreciate that people everywhere are much the same.

I think your book accomplishes that.

Did you have to do any research before writing the book? If so, tell us about it.

I have been doing Cherokee research for a long time–after an uncle told me of my Cherokee heritage. The Museum of the Cherokee in Cherokee, North Carolina used to publish a journal, and several issues were devoted to those who escaped the trail of tears. Although I am not fluent, I can speak some Cherokee–it helps me to understand the characters' thinking.

What is your writing process like?

I do not outline–I prefer that my stories flow. I do know their destination, but not always their route getting there. I use critique groups and writing retreats to help my revisions.

Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you work when you feel inspired?

I do not write by schedules. I am not an early riser, so I work in the afternoon and evenings. Inspiration helps, but if inspiration doesn't find you, hunt inspiration down. I like to do a short meditation before I write or revise to keep my mind focused.

Do you read much and if so, who are your favorite authors?

 I read a lot (I am not sure why I own a TV). My favorite authors were John Steinbeck and Michael Crichton–both are gone. Currently, I read a lot of thrillers and books on DNA research, both fiction and non-fiction. I do not have favorite living authors.

Are you working on anything new?

I am working on a historical novel, Run from the Devil. It is loosely based on the life of Cato Watts–legendarily the first slave, first musician, and first man hanged in colonialLouisville history.

It sounds like it'll be a fascinating read!


Where can readers purchase your book?





Here's my review of Stone Man and the Trail of Tears: 
Those familiar with US history know of the Trail of Tears. It is a sad chapter in which Cherokee Indians were hunted by US soldiers and forced off of their land. Stone Man and the Trail of Tears is the fictitious story of a young Cherokee boy, Tsatsi, and his family who lived during that time. When his village is attacked, Tsatsi and his sister, Sali, flee and are separated from their family. Things get worse when Sali becomes ill and is kidnapped by Stone Man, a legendary giant who instills fear in the hearts of the Cherokee people. Fortunately, Stone Man is not what he seems. He helps the children on their perilous journey to find a new home.

Stone Man and the Trail of Tears is a fascinating story that has bits of history and culture woven throughout. Readers will learn a little about the Trail of Tears as well as interesting things like which acorns are best to eat and what plants can help reduce fevers. At the end, there is a glossary with Cherokee words and definitions. Recommended for readers in grade 4 and up.  5 stars

  



30 comments:

  1. I didn't know Charles was of Cherokee heritage. Very cool.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Alex, Great to hear from. I have Cherokee heritage, but not Cherokee citizenship--my great-great grandfather didn't sign a government enrollment.

      Delete
    2. I'm sure it helped with writing the story!

      Delete
  2. It is always interesting to read about how authors come to writing and their myriad ideas. Writing from the age of eleven - I did the same, but it wasn’t until much later in life that I had the sense to keep writing. Well done you.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Now I want to read it :)
    Our process is so individual, yet we recognize so much in the way other writers work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. We may do some things differently, but the end result is a story.

      Delete
  4. Congratulations to Charles. This sounds like a fascinating book. Cherokee is a language I would love to be able to speak and write.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mason, Great to hear from you. I am far from fluent in Cherokee, but knowing some Cherokee gives me insight into people's minds.
      ᏩᏙ wa-do, thank you

      Delete
    2. I'd never seen the Cherokee alphabet. It was so interesting to see the words spelled out in the native spelling. It was like Greek to me. :)

      Delete
  5. sounds like a very interesting man Sherry. Thanks for sharing.

    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome. It's always nice to know a little background about stories.

      Delete
  6. It's interesting to know the background for the story.

    Congratulations to Charles!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Another captivating interview, Sherry. You both did a great job with it. I love learning about other authors.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I liked reading this interview. Thanks Sherry.
    Congratulations Charles.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Replies
    1. You're welcome. Glad I could help get the word out.

      Delete
  10. Congrats again, Charles! Your current work in progress does sound interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congrats to Charles on his new book!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This sounds like a delightful book, thanks for the interview and review.

    www.thepulpitandthepen.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congratulations to Charles. Thanks for the interview!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Oh my goodness! Not something I had heard of (maybe not surprisingly given that I live in the UK) ... until now. The Trail Of Tears sounds like an amazingly poignant time in history; Charles' book an interesting and informative read.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Congrats to Charles!!!! Sounds like an excellent book!

    ReplyDelete