Sometimes books bring back to us pieces of history through the layers of time, sometimes fiction gets inspired from and reminds us of bits that we should not forget.
During the “Shadow of Time” blog tour, Jen Minkman took the time to tell us more about the Navajo nation, as it represents an important part in this story.
For the ones that do not know, The Navajo Nation is a semi-autonomous Native American-governed territory, which manages the Navajo Indian reservation in the Four Corners area of the United States. The Navajo language is spoken throughout the region with most Navajo capable of speaking English as well. Their history and culture are rich, filled with legends and beautiful art…
But let’s hear more about them from the author:
When the Navajo people were forcibly relocated to a reservation hundreds of miles from their original territory in the 1880s, they were suffering. Not just because they were homesick or because they were forced to walk all those hundreds of miles (known in Navajo history as The Long Walk), but because to them, their sense of spirituality was intrinsically interwoven with their home soil.
The Navajo hataalii or singers (some people might call them medicine men) based their healing techniques, chants and religious support to their fellow tribesmen on their natural environment. All parts of this environment were familiar to them and had inspired them and their forefathers for generations. For every ailment, there was a herb, and for every occasion, there was a story or a song.
Once the Navajo people were taken away from the lands they were used to, they lost this precious connection to their surroundings. Or, as one of the main characters in my book ‘Shadow of Time’ phrases it: ‘Here, far away from home, spirits of unknown origin wander the earth. Here, I can no longer be a holy man, communicating with the forces of nature, for I do not speak the language of this land.’
‘Shadow of Time’ started out as a YA paranormal romance with some Native American elements, but the more I read about the culture of the Navajo, the more I felt compelled to add elements of their history and legends. Don’t worry, I’ve been careful not to bog down the story with too much research, but I do think my book has a very different feel to it than most novels in this genre. My two main characters are no linchpins in a grand story where the survival of the entire world hangs in the balance. Rather, it is about their world. I wanted to make their own personal stories touching, gripping and convincing. Love, to me, is always about hope and joy, and I hope ‘Shadow of Time’ will convey that message to my readers.
Shadow of Time, the book:
All Hannah needs is a nice and quiet vacation after her first year of teaching French at a high school. She joins her brother Ben for the summer in their mom’s log cabin in Arizona. There, she meets Josh again, Ben’s childhood friend from the Navajo reservation. The little boy from the rez has grown up fast, and Hannah can’t help but feeling more for him than just friendship.
But fate apparently has something else in store for her. And it’s not peace and quiet. Night after night, Hannah is plagued by strange nightmares about the past of Navajo Nation and terrifying shadows chasing her. They seem to come closer – and why is Josh always present in her dreams?
Sometimes, the past has a way of catching up with you.