When I wrote Sacagawea, a "faction" ebook for Bramley Books for the middle grade market, I was a little sad when I was finished. I grew to love this woman and admire her a great deal.
One of my reviewers gave me 4 stars out of 5 because it contains spousal abuse. The sad fact is, Sacagawea was abused by her husband,Toussaint Charbonneau. I believe in writing honestly for middle grades.This is the video game age. These are kids whose parents grew up watching Terminator. (Unfortunately.) They can handle the truth about history.
Sacagawea is "faction." We know very little about her from the journals of Lewis and Clark. But from those journals I was able to imagine quite a bit about what her life must have been like. She was the only woman on a gruelling expedition with a group of rugged men. She was a Native American, and not as respected as European women. That is, there was no coddling Sacagawea. She was expected to be just as tough as the men and work just as hard. And she did, too, with an infant in tow.
What's not to admire about such a woman?
One of the exciting aspects of this particular ebook, is that the publisher wanted me to imbed links into the text so that students could actually see the things I described such as certain plants, animals and artifacts. When I couldn't find things online that were appropriate, I created content on my history blog. So when the kids and parents read the book, they also click on my blog at times. It's been a great way to build a fan base in this genre.
When I came to the final chapter, I was actually sad to say goodbye to her. She had won my admiration and I wanted to spend some more time with her.
I only hope my readers wanted to as well.
Karla Akins is a pastor's wife, mother of five, grandma to five beautiful little girls and author of the best-selling Jacques Cartier (that went #1 on Amazon in its category), O Canada! Her Story. Sacagawea was released in Jan. 2013. Her debut novel The Pastor's Wife Wears Biker Boots is due out in 2013. One of her columns on MNN.com was featured on the CNN homepage. Represented by Hartline Literary Agency, she lives in North Manchester with her husband, twin teenage boys with autism, mother-in-law with Alzheimer's and three rambunctious dogs. When she's not writing she dreams of riding her motorcycle through the Smoky Mountains.