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Discuss the October 2017 Book of the Month, Strong Heart by Charlie Sheldon.

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Gingerbo0ks
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Re: Ask the Author

Post by Gingerbo0ks » 21 Oct 2017, 09:34

Charlie Sheldon wrote:Miriam - This is great, discovering what all you readers see in this tale. Why eight days? On the level of the story itself, that seems about the time someone could be gone and without food, alone, yet still have energy to emerge and struggle somewhere for help, a 13 year old anyway. I did not intend to have the number of days signify anything else, but I am learning that often times things appear in tales, put there by the author, that have meaning to readers, and are thus real. So, for those of you who know the Bible and the symbols and lessons therein, perhaps there is a correlation with the eight days, not necessarily put there by me (consciously), but still meaningful in relation to a reader's understanding of the Bible. On the story level as I wrote it, I know some readers struggled with this (questioning how Sarah could have an experience lasting perhaps months in the span of eight days). This is fascinating, because in dreams don't we sometimes experience days of time in a few hours? And if you believe Sarah had a vision, then her sense of time could be totally flexible, both linear time as well as time in the past And if you believe Sarah actually went somewhere and really lived that journey, well, then, isn't it a bit odd to question how her eight days could become several months yet accept (apparently) that she traveled in time thousands of years? This the magic realism element, to build a story entirely factual and real in nearly all elements such that the fantastic and impossible is accepted and seen as real, too, and hopefully for most of you readers that is what takes place. I sort of hoped that if a reader can pivot with Sarah to her journey the same reader will be fine with linear time changing as well, during that journey.....
I love this answer! :)
"One must always be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us.”
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Angel

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Post by powergirl » 01 Nov 2017, 07:43

When is foreseen the sequel?I really want to know about Myra life and the relationships between Tom and Sarah.
"To be or not to be that's the question" William Shakespeare

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Post by Charlie Sheldon » 01 Nov 2017, 11:35

I believe IronTwine Press will be publishing Adrift in the August-September 2018 time frame.

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Post by radioactivelyradiant » 04 Nov 2017, 10:17

How long did it take you to write this book? Were there any points where you hit a wall, and couldn't figure out how to continue the story?

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Post by Charlie Sheldon » 04 Nov 2017, 11:15

Hey, Radioactive....The actual writing itself did not take long. But before that I pondered and did research, for three years. I had a desire to write something with many threads, exploring certain deep issues, celebrating the Olympics, dealing with issues of zealotry, what constitutes truth and fact, how intractable issues are resolved. I filled notebooks, bought and read 100 books, dozens of papers, spoke with scientists, spoke with more scientists. When at sea working on ships I made more notes, pondered, wondered, thought. I had this vague idea, a trip into the park, an older character and a younger character, something happening up there. I started actually writing the first draft October 8 2013 and finished that first draft December 28, 2013, 155,000 words. I was in a literary fiction course then and so had great help from other classmates and my teacher, comments, suggestions. Did I ever reach a place where I was stuck? Not really. The story just happened, the characters appeared nearly fully formed, as I watched it happen and described it. But then it took three years to edit the tale, restructure some things, edit it again, and remove everything not needed for the tale. When I was done with the initial draft I hired an editor to be ruthless, Pete Wise, and he was. He still is, now having edited three of my tales. In April 2014 I was in Cleveland working on a ship project there, again alone with time in the evenings, and I realized there was more in the world I had discovered to describe, and so I began, and again within three months, finished the second tale, Adrift, which also has taken three years to get finished, a follow on and sequel to Strong Heart. Then on a ship in Baltimore 2014-2015 I started a third tale Found, now nearly finished as well, again written the same - a fast initial draft then years of edits, changes, removals, adds. I can't wait to start the fourth tale.At times in all these tales I stop and think, what happens now? I have been at this long enough now to know the answer will appear, with time, if I let it.
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Post by Tpop » 04 Nov 2017, 12:51

I would also love to have the answer to this question. Also, do you, personally, have a Native American background? It felt very close to stories and beliefs my friend's mother who lived on a Reservation had.
EveS523 wrote:Is any of this story based on truth?

-- 02 Oct 2017, 11:40 --

How much research into Native American traditions, folklore, etc did you do before writing this story?
-- 04 Nov 2017, 12:55 --

Charlie, I really enjoyed your writing style. Could you tell me what your favorite book you have written is? I would love to read another tale. Thank you.

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Post by Charlie Sheldon » 04 Nov 2017, 17:00

Tpop - Is any of this story based on truth? The research and all the science mentioned in the book is valid and true. The landscape, the Park, the North Pacific Coast, all are as true as I could make them. The characters are all invented and none match anyone real I know, but they are all made up of parts of people I know, otherwise how could I see them? I'd like to think this story is true in the context of human spirit and imagination.....How much research into Native American traditions, folklore, etc? I think I answered this in another thread, to some degree. None of this story, and none of the legends mentioned, have any basis in actual legends held by actual tribes. I have tried as best I can to avoid appropriating existing tribe's cultures or myths, but at the same time have tried to write a world that seems real, and true. For example, Myra's tribe, the Sol Duc Tribe, is a tribe I created for the purposes of the story, as are all the Sol Duc references. William is a Haida, an absolutely real and famous tribe of great carvers, warriors and seafarers, but I was careful to have William taken from Haida Gwaii as a child and placed in a Canadian tribal school, as, again, it is not my place or business to assume I can speak about the Haida culture. You may note, too, when Williams grandmother tells her story, that is not a Haida legend, it is something she speaks of from "before there were tribes;" again, trying to thread a needle between being true and realaistic without insulting or appropriating another culture. (This is nearly impossible, by the way, especially in these hyper-sensitive cultural times). I am not Native American (although in my family there is a deep legend of ancestry from the early 1700s, absolutely impossible to verify) but have spent over 20 years working with Puget Sound Tribes concerning treaty fishing issues (potential conflicts with shipping activities in ports) and in that regard I studied history deeply and learned a lot from tribal members about their own history.
I would say the favorite book I have written is always the one I am working on at the moment, except that Strong Heart must rise to the top for me because it started me on this road and this world that rose before me, like magic, demanding to be told.,..I have three other novels published, from years ago, one an industrial espionage caper, Fat Chance, set in NYC, one about commercial fishing, Chasing Davy Jones, set in the 1970s, and one about a young man finding his power through a sport as his family comes apart around him, Guardian. Fat Chance is a potboiler and a caper, Chasing Davy Jones is really about and for those people who went to sea to fish, a hard-bitten sea story. Guardian starts wrestling with some of the issues Strong Heart explores further - what is it to be a grandparent, to be a young person struggling to find power, to have a great goal?

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Post by Tpop » 04 Nov 2017, 19:10

Wow. That is so very intriguing! Just picked up Fat Chance. Lets see if I agree with the Toronto Star on your characters! Thank you for your time. I appreciate your insight and response. I’ll keep my eye on your future endeavors.

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Post by thisisfinal213 » 09 Nov 2017, 11:45

Sir! I have question that weather these qualities are present in women nowadays or that is just a fiction. I mean applicable

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Post by Charlie Sheldon » 09 Nov 2017, 12:17

thisisfinal213- not sure I understand your question. If you are asking, do women today have the same qualities as in Sarah's tale, well, you could argue all women today are descended from those ancient days....I wanted to write something with a female hero, with strong female characters (mostly), in the adventure setting because I think this genre, adventure, usually does not use women. Personally I think women are much tougher than men. I mean, they have to put up with us, right? That takes strength, for sure.

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Post by Taiwo Ogundipe » 09 Nov 2017, 16:04

What was your inspiration behind this story?

-- 09 Nov 2017, 16:05 --

What was your inspiration behind this story?

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Post by Charlie Sheldon » 09 Nov 2017, 17:26

Taiwo Ogundipe: I think I answered this question in an earlier post, or part of an earlier post: My inspiration for the story is lifelong, based on early family history, a grandfather who spent some time in the early years of this century with the Haida people, a curiosity about human origins, basic contrary thinking, and then my love for the Olympic peninsula and the wilderness therein, where I go hiking whenever I can. I have written a number of other novels, usually staring with a simple direct question, and I wanted to do something more difficult, asking more layered questions. I wanted to do something about human myth, legend, origing, and a heroic quest, and I wanted the hero to be an ornery young girl because so few of them are found in literature. I had (and have) no idea how I a grizzled geezer can produce a believable young girl but she emerged and t's up to the readers to determine how rela she is. She was damn real to me. Is damn real.

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Post by thisisfinal2131 » 10 Nov 2017, 21:00

Strong Heart is a book of fiction and it is always a delicate dance . When about an area and people who may live in that area between being realistic and imaginary

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Post by akeseh » 31 Dec 2017, 01:51

I see you're a good writer. What is your secret?

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Post by Charlie Sheldon » 31 Dec 2017, 12:27

Thank you for your comment, though the more I write the more I see I need to do....however the writing is, good or bad, is the result of being persistent, sticking to subjects I know about, and being able to see what is happening before me so all I need to do is describe it. All writers try, I think, to produce a tale every reader will love, but in truth out of any ten readers a writer is doing absolutely unbelievably well if four of the ten like the tale a lot. I think of it like baseball, that's like being a .400 hitter, extremely rare. Strong Heart, here, has received good reviews though a lot of readers dislike the ending (while others like the ending) and while some readers love the character development and the action others say there is no character development and too little action. I think if a writer manages to take the reader into a place and world while reading that is total, and real, such that the pages pass without knowing it, that is the highest definition of success. If a reader is so invested in the characters that they are unhappy to see the story end, that is success, too. But, as I said before, there are other readers who start a tale and give up, put the book down, because they don't care about the characters or the subject. Tell you what - if one of my books becomes really successful, and wins awards, and becomes well known, then when I am asked what my secret is maybe what I have to offer might mean something, but right now I am just one author among millions spinning yarns.

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