Spirit Seeker here on my blog.
Jamie is on tour right now and will also be giving away 5 print
copies of Spirit Seeker throughout the tour so stay tuned, I'll be
posting all the details at the end.
Spirit Seeker by Jamie Haden
When I first began to think about this question, I definitely knew that legends and history, not myths were the most important to my writing. However, I was mystified because legends and history are certainly intertwined in the retelling of Native American stories. There was no way I could separate the two. As a Cherokee writer, I do believe that Native American legends are a central role in American History.
Indeed, legends are stories that have been handed down and yet, they are historical in that they all have have evolved with time. Spirit Seeker takes place on Silence and Cave, two remote barrier islands, off the coast of North Carolina. The stories of the people on these islands are historical legends because the retelling of the tales is one way the culture of the island people have been kept alive. There is a profound relationship between the story teller and the listener. So much of traditional Native American spirituality deals with ancestors. If it weren’t for the retelling of the stories, the past would be lost.
The legends that I write about in Spirit Seeker, are not necessarily based on historical Native Americans like Geronimo or Sequoya (even though Geronimo and Sequoya are of course legends). Instead, the legends that the island old timers still tell are the ones passed by word of mouth alone, and deal mostly with spirit animals. Hence, the totem poles.
Totem poles are a major part of Native American History.
Native American tradition stipulates that each person is connected to nine different animals in life. These animals serve as guides that appear in our lives, as we need them. The totem animal, in particular, is one that is with you for life. It is the main spirit guide. This animal offers wisdom to the individual. It is not necessarily an animal that you have to nurture and feed. It is more important that you learn the lessons in life that the animal has come to teach. However, finding and searching for a spirit guide is not always the easiest thing to do. This quest can at times, be extremely difficult. Especially if danger lurks in the night.
Nevertheless, with each totem animal, there is a legend and a lesson to be offered. Certainly, there is a legend for the creation of the Universe, and a legend for the Creation of man. There is also a legend that is dying to be told to Talisa Santiago, the heroine in Spirit Seeker. Once Talisa understands what she is capable of doing do, she realizes that there is no turning back.
Talisa Santiago is the granddaughter of a shaman. She is haunted by desire and willing to do the unthinkable. Oh, the stories this girl can tell—especially to those who dare to listen. The relationship between story teller and listener is a profound one indeed!
Age: Young Adult
Available at: www.pillhillpress.com & most other online retailers!
Life is strange and difficult for the granddaughter of a shaman.
Sixteen-year-old Talisa Santiago was born in the desert underneath the full moon in January—the wolf moon. However, she left the desert with her mother when she was a young girl. She remembers bits and pieces of her past but it isn’t until she and her mom move to a remote barrier island off the coast of North Carolina that she feels fate has finally called—secretive and mysterious he stands alone on the edge of the bank. Her friends tell her to stay away; she hears rumors that he is dangerous. Still, she can’t resist Whether Talisa realizes it or not, she knows a thing or two about boys like Jag Chavez. Fate is funny that way.
For the first time in her life, Talisa meets kids just like her—Native Americans who know the way of the spirit. The closer she gets to Jag, the more she realizes he is hiding a dark secret. He may have the markings of the Thunderbird, but he is named for the powerful Jaguar. Together they embark on a journey that will haunt her forever.
Book trailer links:
Spirit Seeker Mini Excerpt:
They are flesh eaters.
They elegantly prowl the earth at dusk, listening to the sounds of creation.
Hungry, they wait for hours to pierce the skull of their prey.
It only takes them a few seconds to reach the brain.
I am now binded to them forever. Haunted by desire.
And willing to do the unthinkable.
For them—I give my blood.
For my lover—I give my soul.
Drowning would be a terrible way to die. Silent. As I gazed out to the summer sea, images of twinkling sands swept across my mind. The dark, unfathomed ocean with its mysterious tides filled my soul with a holy presence, for I knew that its depths were seldom seen. However, when I visited the corners of my life, it wasn’t water that I longed for. Instead, it was the desert of my past, a place of total isolation.
It was the most horrifying thing I had ever witnessed. And the most wicked. Enchanting? Of course, that’s why I remember it so well.
I was only five when I first saw the dead man. I was awakened at midnight by the sound of beating drums.
Before me were two men with their bodies painted, wearing masks, dancing around the grotesque corpse. Their long, thick hair flapped against their backs as they moved in perfect rhythm. In and out, they went into a trance. Shadows appeared through the smoke. I could see the dead man’s spirit hovering around, waiting for redemption. His side had been torn in half, mauled it seemed by a wild animal of some sort. In the background there was a woman stirring a paste. I smiled when she looked at me. It was my mother.
She went to the dead man and began rubbing his ragged, maggot-ridden side with the magic potion. Her long hair flowed into his wounds. The two male dancers began stomping their feet, waving their hands, and chanting foreign sounds only the spirits could understand. The ceremony took most of the night. By dawn, the drums finally stopped beating. And the dead man woke up. He staggered as he stood, walking out of the tent with a limp. The miracle workers removed their masks. I watched my mother with perfect clarity. She was mesmerizing. Her beauty was extraordinary. Divine. The way she carefully wiped the paint from their sweat filled faces and soaked their bloody, battered feet in buckets of warm water was a ritual my mother knew all too well. The two men she cleansed were my father and grandfather. She handed each of them a peace pipe. That was the last memory I have of my father. After that, I don’t remember ever seeing him again.
Although I do know the moon well, the lullabies sung to me as a child were never from storybooks that promised goodnight wishes to the beautiful planet. Instead, at night, when the stars shone upon me, I would recite a sacred prayer to the hidden sun, the earth father—the almighty jaguar. I would gaze into the night sky and dream of the jaguar’s spots shinning above me. I would wish into them and fantasize childlike dreams. I knew the jaguar had a sacred power in the earth and the animals that lived upon it. I just never knew I was creating my own destiny so long ago.
Jamie Haden lives in Wilmington, North Carolina with her husband and three daughters. Jamie has a Bachelor's degree in philosophy and taught special education in Kentucky and North Carolina. Pill Hill Press will release her young adult novel SPIRIT SEEKER-BOOK ONE OF THE TALISA SANTIAGO SERIES August 26, 2011. Jamie is currently working on ILLUMINATE-ALIVE, SHE CRIED, the sequel to SPIRIT SEEKER.
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