It is March, 1649. A court in Botolph sentences a woman to hang for supposedly trafficking with the devil. The old governor of Sagadac does everything he can to stop an outbreak of hysteria as a wave of accusations of witchcraft sweeps over the colony.
The story is based on an isolated case of alleged witchcraft that took place in Massachusetts in the middle of the 17th century.
“Pilhannaw” is an old native word for a bird of prey like an eagle.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I have hoped since I was in the 8th grade that fiction writing would be at the center of my life. I served as a Lao linguist in the American army, stationed for a year and a half in Thailand, during the start of the war in Vietnam. When I left the army, I took a job at a bank across the street from a large, liberal university. Fiction writing was still at the center of my ambitions. Anti-war protests were just starting. Confused beyond words, I decided that the only way I could understand what was going on around me was to examine American history from the time when Europeans arrived in what we now call the northeastern United States. After five years of research and writing, I came up with what I considered a presentable novel. “The Pilhannaw” is my first long work of fiction.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
Three characters are based on the historical record. The others are imaginary. I haven’t examined the creative process enough to answer a “how” question, except to point to narrative need and quite a bit of thought. I also think of my work as a gift from a creative Power infinitely greater than mine. I suspect that many writers would make a similar statement of thankfulness.
I grew up in eastern Massachusetts, graduated from the University of Chicago in 1964, served four years in the army, worked in a bank for 12 years, attended a Lutheran seminary for five years in my mid-forties, with a year of internship in Florida, and worked as a Lutheran pastor in Sudbury, Ontario for 17+ years. I moved to Toronto after I retired.
I have 11 novels and 2 shorter works available on kindle direct publishing. I hope to have another one ready by the end of 2014.
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