I first met Constance Gillam at a writer’s retreat in Boulder, Colorado. She is one classy woman, with quick wit and intelligence that makes me envious.
Lakota Dreaming was the first book I read of yours. It is such a fresh read, there’s nothing out there like it. What inspired you to write a novel about genetic memories?
Kelley, thank you for that wonderful introduction. Wit and intelligence??? Hmm…must be someone else.
Lakota Dreaming came about because I’d read and was fascinated by the topic of genetic memories. Author, Doris Mortman, wrote a novel using the concept, so I wasn’t the first to incorporate it into a storyline.
Years earlier I saw an independent movie about the love affair between a 19th century black woman and a Native American.
I started the ‘what if’ game. What if this young black woman followed this Native American man back to his reservation? What if they married and had children? But still something was missing. When I added the genetic memory idea to the story, the book took on a life of its own.
You focus on heritage in Lakota Dreaming. How important is it to remember your past?
It’s very important to me. I’ve spent the last two and half years researching my family tree. I’ve found some very interesting information. Because I’m African American, some of what I’ve found has been very sad but very enlightening.
I recently found out that I’m related to Nathaniel Hawthorne. I guess writing is in my DNA. Have you ever attempted to trace your lineage, and if so were there any surprises?
Tracing lineage for the average African American is difficult prior to the 1870 census. We didn’t exist as human beings but property, so we weren’t included in any census before the 1863&1865 Emancipation Acts.
What are you working on at the minute?
I’m hoping by the time this newsletter appears Lakota Moon Rising will be available.
What’s it about?
Lakota Moon Rising is a historical prequel to Lakota Dreaming. It’s the story of Julia, the ancestor of the main female character in Lakota Dreaming. Julia escapes from a Louisiana plantation and is captured by Indians. She finds love and heartache on the Great Plains with a Sioux warrior.
What genre are your books?
With the exception of Lakota Moon Rising, I write primarily contemporary suspense and mystery.
What draws you to this genre?
I love putting all the pieces together, searching out clues. I guess that’s why genealogy appeals to me.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I think Gugu Mbatha-Raw would be great in the role of Julia.
How much research do you do?
For Lakota Moon Rising, I had the help of a generous researcher who has a background in Native American history. He supplied me with numerous monographs about captives held by Native American tribes. Also the Native American Language Institute helped me with using correct names for the time period.
What do you do in your down time? Do you have down time?
When I’m not writing, I’m scouring old documents looking for missing relatives.
Tell us how to find you.