Lori writes historical fiction set on the American Frontier in which her storytelling brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history.
The first 18C novel I wrote was set in North Carolina, but the types of themes I was drawn to—the experiences of men and women caught in the Middle Ground between cultures and races—had already emerged. It didn’t escape my notice that New York’s history, particularly during the Revolutionary War era, is rife with stories of such men and women, European, African, and Iroquois. By the time I finished spilling out that novel set in North Carolina, I had several kernels of the story that would become Burning Sky sprouting through the soil of my imagination. It turned out to be an abundant harvest, and I hope to write more stories about the history of New York during the 18th century.
MONA: Neil MacGregor is one of the compelling lead characters in Burning Sky. What sparked the idea for Neil’s story?
LORI: The character of Neil MacGregor has had a long and interesting journey. I first wrote him into a contemporary story set on the Oregon coast—his character was initially inspired by the movie Man Without A Face. Neil’s physical disabilities and challenges (and his heart’s desire, in spite of them) were largely the same as they are now, but how he dealt with them in that original story was very different than what readers will find in the pages of Burning Sky. In fact, he dealt with them much more like Willa Obenchain, the heroine of Burning Sky, attempts to deal with her struggles, through isolation and retreat from the world.
MONA: Lori, we appreciate your taking the time to sit with us a spell, sharing from your heart. Thank you!