Just how did my current Young Adult mystery/adventure series wind up in the Navajo Nation?
I’ll tell you. One day, when I was about knee high to a katydid, my mom moved us to Arizona.
I went from picking blackberries with my cousins to jumping flat-footed into a tall cow-feed bin as I witnessed my first cattle-branding event.
I was traumatized…
… even though the ranchers told me the calves were laughing. Yeah, they told me those things they threw in the fire and ate later on were oysters, too. They were. Mountain oysters.
Our Arizona high-country ranch was located between the Navajo Rez and the White Mountain Apache Tribe Rez. My schoolmates were Native American, Hispanic and just a few Anglos, like five or six of them. In case you don’t know, Anglos are Caucasians.
It was, at the very least, an incredible experience; and it marked me for life. I forever gallop the winds of my imagination in the high country – in my mind, and in my novels.
Now you know why I started my novel-writing career smack dab in the Navajo Nation, don’t you?
My protagonist for the Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves series, is a young Navajo with a steroid imagination, a penchant for adventure and an addiction to scarves. Her professor mother, immersed in academia, isn’t around a lot. Her dad is.
Meet Frank Begay – “Silki’s dad.”
Silversmith. Musician. Husband. Father. Son. Uncle. Son-in-law. Wise counselor. Diné.
Think about that; this man has a lot on his shoulders.
Now peek up there at Wes Studi.
See the twinkling eyes? The shy, strong smile. The map of wisdom engraving his face?
No doubt about it…when Hollywood knocks on my door, Wes plays Frank!
I already know your arguments.
Wes Studi is Cherokee, not Navajo. It’s a movie part…not real life! M-O-V-I-E. Entertainment. Playacting. Sheesh. I hope that settles that one. *dusts off hands*
Wes Studi is a little older than Frank Begay. You’re worried about that? Just look at that timeless face. I say Wes Studi can play characters in their mid-thirties to their sixties and beyond. It’s not the age; it’s the actor – and brother, can he act! Think Dances with Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, Avatar.
Anyhoo, next time any of you happens to run into Wes, like in Hollywood or Colorado or some other cool place, tell him “toodle-oo” for me, and that he has first crack at the part of Frank in the Silki movies – just as soon as Hollywood goes gaga over my Silki novels – of course.
Readers, do certain actors seem perfect for the characters in the books you read?
Writers, who do you think should play the major parts in your novel(s) when Hollywood beats on your door?
Tell us about it.
We’re dying to know!
Of course, a visit isn’t a visit without a two-way conversation. I really want to hear from you.
I truly hope you’ll pick up a copy of my novel Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT. The print version is on sale at Amazon for only $9.85!!! For your convenience, it’s also available for Kindle, the Nook and for most other eBook readers. If you love the Southwest and kooky little characters that make you laugh aloud as authentic danger and mystery swirl at every turn, you’ll love this novel! The second book in the series, CANYON OF DOOM, debuts in early 2013.
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Jodi Lea Stewart grew up smelling cedar berries and cow manure on a mega-acre Arizona cattle ranch wedged between the Navajo Nation and the White Mountain Apache Tribe Reservation. Her friends were Native American and Hispanic, with a few Anglos thrown in for good measure.
Her pastimes were singing to chickens, climbing giant petroglyph-etched boulders, hanging on for dear life in the back end of rattley old pickups driven over terracotta roads so washed out they qualified as mini-Grand Canyons, and riding one of the orneriest horses God ever put on the planet.
Traumatized beyond repair, she now writes novels in the hope of neutralizing all that craziness.
Before giving her heart to full-time fiction, Jodi cattle-prodded herself through journalism, western magazine writing, college humor writing, album-cover design/liner notes, electro-mechanical drafting, and into a position of managing editor/chief writer of a Fortune 500 corporate newsletter.
Oh, she went on to earn that dreaded BS in Business Management too, but she was pretty much an expert on one part of that degree already.
Jodi Lea Stewart now lives in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two standard poodles and two rescue cats.
Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi’s first novel.
Book Two in the series, CANYON OF DOOM, debuts Summer of 2013. Book Three in the series, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, hopes to come out of hiding sometime in 2014.