Klahowya! Introducing a novel set in the time of the romantic fur trade.
This book is set in a Hudson's Bay company outpost, the Pacific Northwest, circa 1810. What happens?
... Men and women from divergent worlds meet in an Arden-like forest. In those strange woods the reader is introduced to: wood-wise ingenues,confused men,matronly women, clever animals, and assorted asses and fools.
The introductions are lovingly conducted by a benign narrative presence. That's a happy beginning - but as the story progresses, the benign presence becomes somewhat sinister. The wood-wise ingenues lose their wisdom; the confused men become calculating, and the outpost seems to contract into itself. As in many fairy tales, the story's conclusion is uncertain and .... disturbing(?)
This is a fairy tail with a modern edge - a romantic speculation - a speculative history. The book's airy structure and modern references contribute to its bouncy, talke-like mood.
--- a reviewer.
Chick Lit Corner Review Travels Back in Time to the Fur Trapping Era
Lotus Landry explains the plot of her novel. "This is a speculative narrative about how an ambitious bi-cultural girl, Matooskie, might have grown up in the forest during the fur era. The novel is written as a Western romance, but provides back story on the main character's father so that the reader learns how animal pelts helped to build America.
Matooskie's father is the executive responsible for commerce, welfare and safety in the territory.
So what About the Romantic Side of Things?
There is a hero in the story. Robert Lovelace is a newly arrived officer at the fort, a remote place with several peculiar luxuries but very few romantic options. He has a history of being a slick player of sophisticated women of the London social scene.
How would landry pitch this story in one sentence?
"Free-range feminist confronts greenhorm ladies man in 1830's rainforest".
So back to the story and its main character, Matooskie. "Matooskie is extremely tenacious, goal oriented and she loves keeping secrets. She is sharp enough to master Latin with the assistance of the private tutors who pass through the fort as guests. On the other hand, she believes that she
is in competition with the English rose, Rebecca. Matooskie's accidental boyfriend (accidental because she stumbles upon him in an unlikely place) appears to be shining and noble on the outside, but he has a history of taking advantage of young women. She is also unaware of how her father is scheming to prevent her from leaving his provincial domain for the excitement of the big city.
David Wisehart Interview : Lotus Landry
What can you tell us about The Skookum Man ?
When the Indians call the character,Robert Lovelace,"Skookum", they mean that he is powerful and durable. This word is from Chinook jargon and it can mean "first rate".
They perceive him as powerful as he is part of the British fur trade operation. He sparkles in social situations. There is another side to Robert, however. He demonstrates less than noble behavior with women and he clearly is a clueless greenhorn in wilderness matters. So in his case, "Skookum" can be ironic.
What research did you do for the book
The story in my novel is purely a speculative history and it revolves around characters keeping secrets from one another. I found material on Lieutenant O'Neal's Olympic Expedition to be useful for establishing scenery. Accounts such as Eagle and the Fort (Fort Vancouver) and Solid Gold provided background of the fur trade of the Northwest Coast.
How do you develop and differentiate your characters?
The occupations of the characters enter into the tale and these drive some of the aspirations of the characters. In Skookum Man, the female protagonist
is really a feminist student of botany with a grandfather who is an Indian chief and a widower father who is chief executive of a fur-trading enterprise.
Who do you imagine is your ideal reader?
My reader can be either female or male.I would expect that the reader is looking for something to take the mind off of concerns of the present electronic age. In this regard, the frontier individualism of an 1830's Western would have an appeal.
What one book, written by someone else, you you wish you'd written yourself?
When I consider contemporary books only for recreational reading, I come up with Tim Dorsey's Atomic Lobster which makes me laugh out loud at every turn of the page. This is a picaresque novel set in South Florida with his serial characters, the lowlife criminals, Serge and Coleman.