I'm sorry that this is late in coming, but I would like to thank the wonderful Lynn Sholes for taking time and answering these questions. Enjoy! You may find my review of her book here:
The Woman of the Mists
The Woman of the Mists
1. What inspired you to pen down Woman of the Mists?
I always loved writing and then in high school we had an assembly and the guest speaker was James Mitchner. I was in awe and knew at that moment I wanted to be a writer. I kept putting it off for a very long time, always finding a reason that would keep me from devoting the time. When I finally did decide to take writing seriously (I went out and bought a computer, printer, and software) I was paralyzed because I realized I had no story to tell. Luckily I was working with the Broward County Archaeological Society, participating in digs and learning more and more about the ancient people who once lived in my backyard. One day I found an artifact that intrigued me and that became the seed idea for WOMAN OF THE MISTS.
2. What kind of research did you do to immerse yourself in the Native American world?
I spent a lot of time with the Broward County Archaeological Society working on Tequesta Indian sites. My mentor was a wonderful lady and knowledgeable archaeologist. As we worked she constantly taught me things about the culture. Once back at the museum I spent a lot of time sorting and identifying our finds. The society also had a wonderful reference library in which I often buried myself. The public library was also my friend along with archaeological publications such as The Florida Anthropologist. I read Jonathan Dickinson’s Journal, translations of Fontaneda’s memoir, and so many books and papers. I loved every minute of the research. Not only did I have to research the people, but also the indigenous plants and their properties. It was a wonderful adventure that still holds my passion.
3. What are your favorite books/authors?
I have so many and across many genres. Of course I would have to mention Jean Auel for prehistoric fiction. I also co-write thrillers with Joe Moore, so I have a lot of thriller writers that I enjoy, especially Doug Preston and Lincoln Child, and James Rollins.
4. What do you hope that the readers will take away from your Edge of the World Series?
I am a native Floridian and all through my education I never realized what a rich archaeological history Florida has. The only Native Americans of Florida that I knew about were the Seminoles and Miccosukee. When I realized that the indigenous people of Florida had been pretty much ignored during my education, I was shocked. When the opportunity to work with archaeologists came around, I plunged in. As I worked at gravesites, I saw the remains of adults and infants. They were interred with ceremony—by people who grieved wept at those graves, not savages. I came to understand their culture and their way of life, more and more. Every day in Florida, Indian sites were being bulldozed and nobody made a ruckus. I wondered what would happen if bulldozers suddenly showed up at a contemporary cemetery and started destroying Grandma’s resting place and scattering her remains. For sure there would be an outcry. So, when I wrote the series, my intent was to help readers understand that these early Floridians were just the same as us. They carved out an elaborate way of life in the Everglades, had a rich and spiritual culture, and experienced the same emotions as we do. I hoped to achieve this by bringing them to life on the page. I’ve been charged with romanticizing the Indians. I accept that because it is true. It was my intent. I wanted to entertain readers but also on my agenda was the idea that perhaps by creating awareness would aid in preserving the remaining sites so we might still learn more about them.