Friday, November 21, 2014

Guest Blogger Romance Novelist Sheri WhiteFeather: Native American Heritage Month

Christal Rice Cooper – 632 Words

Guest Blogger
Sheri WhiteFeather

The Life of a Writer: 
Researching Native Characters

I write romance novels.  Yep, those dreamy, sexy books people sometimes raise their eyebrows at.   But researching romance novels is the same as researching any other genre.   If we do our jobs right, the fictional characters we create will become real to our readers, jumping off the pages and into their lives. 

I’ve become known for incorporating Native American elements into my books.  I’m not Native, but I’ve been greatly influenced by the culture.   My ex-husband (we’re still friends) and our grown children are tribally enrolled members of the Muscogee Creek Nation.  

I spent years with my ex, while he set out to follow the path of his ancestors.  He is what’s considered an ethnic Indian.  He didn’t grow up on a reservation and his family lost touch with their community generations before he was born. 

His late grandmother used to tell me stories about her youth.   She was raised in Indian Country in Oklahoma, but it was during a time when being Native was considered shameful and her people were being persecuted, so her family chose to “act white.”  The elders stopped speaking their Native language and teaching it to their young.   Eventually, they stopped drumming and dancing, too.  Grandma recalled attending a few ceremonies that were held in secret, but the experience frightened her.   She didn’t understand the significance of them.  To her, they were dark and scary and shrouded in mystery. 

Needless to say, her culture was stripped from her.  She was thrilled when her grandson began taking a warm and loving interest in his culture.  He took her to her first inter-tribal powwow and showed her how beautiful the celebrations are today.  She was proud of me and my books, too.  She loved that I was featuring Native characters in my stories.  It was during my early writing days that she opened up to me about her past.

I research my Native characters in all sorts of ways.  Sometimes I talk to tribal historians and enlist their help.  I also gather information from other books or online articles.   And, of course, I ask Native peoples about their lives and experiences.

I’ve written nearly 50 books and each and every one is special to me.  One of my favorites is an erotic romance called The Art of Desire.  It contains two sets of lovers, contemporary and historical, with flashbacks between both eras.  The historical hero is an Apache prisoner of war who escapes from a military fort and crosses paths with a beautiful young artist.  Their story is wild and tragic.   As much as I wanted their relationship to have a happy ending, I didn’t see how it was possible. 

In March 2015, I have a Harlequin novel (The Bachelor’s Baby Dilemma) coming out that features a mixed-blood Cheyenne who agrees to raise his sister’s child while she is serving time in prison.  The heroine is his long-ago sweetheart who returns to his life.

I’m also trying to complete my Room 105 series, a self-published project that was influenced by a man I dated.  He is a full-blood who knows nothing of his past.  He was adopted outside of his culture, and the mystery associated with his lost identity pulled me in.

Not all of my books feature Native characters or influences.  I also write about vampires and whatever else strikes my fancy.  

But my Native-themed books are my first love and will always hold a special place in my heart.

In honor of Native American Heritage Month, I’m providing a few articles of interest.

History of Native American Heritage Month 

Ways to celebrate Native American Heritage Month

American Indian FAQs (featured on my website)

Photograph Description and Copyright Information 

Photo 1
Sheri WhiteFeather web logo

Photo 2
Jacket cover of Sheri WhiteFeather's first book Warrior's Baby by Silhouette Desire 

Photo 3
Seal of the Muskogee Nation

Photo 4
Brenna, Sheri, and Nikki WhiteFeather
Copyright granted by Sheri WhiteFeather

Photo 5
Sheri's ex-mother-in-law, Nick WhiteFeather, and Sheri WhiteFeather

Photo 6
Omaha, Nebraska Pow WowPhotograph taken on August 13, 1983
Attributed to Dorothy Sarah lee
Public Domain
Library of Congress

Photo 7
Sheri WhiteFeather
Copyright granted by Sheri WhiteFeather

Photo 8 
Jacket cover of The Art of Desire 

Photo 9
Jacket cover of Room 105 Beautiful Musician 
Attributed and copyright granted by The Killion Group Inc 

Photo 10
Jacket cover of Room 105 Beautiful Confusion 
Attributed and copyright granted by The Killion Group Inc

Photo 11
Jacket cover of Room 105 Beautiful Warrior 
Attributed and copyright granted by The Killion Group Inc

Photo 12
Jacket cover of Erotic Vampires 

Photo 13 
Sheri WhiteFeather
Copyright granted by Sheri WhiteFeather


  1. Thanks, Sheri, for a little insight into your writing. Yes, you do your "job" right! Your characters do, indeed, become real to your fans! Thanks, also, for the links to articles that you provided in this blog.

  2. As you know , Sheri, I have read all of your novels and can't wait for the newest one! Glad to know there is one in the works for 2015! I'm your biggest fan, as you know . Keep up the great work! Pam

  3. Lois and Pam, thank you so much! It means the world to have both you in my corner. It's been wonderful getting to know my readers on such personal levels. Both of you have influenced things in my stories. Pam, you can expect the mention of unicorns in my March 2015 book. And Lois, you'll see that the heroine is the doga instructor you suggested eons ago. :)