Carolyn Meyer is the author of many books, most of them delving into the lives of strong young women. Her first historical, Where the Broken Heart Still Beats, is being re-released next week. Since it features one of my favorite historical figures, Cynthia Ann Parker, I was dying to ask Carolyn some questions about this book. She graciously agreed to stop by the virtual offices for a chat.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us about Where the Broken Heart Still Beats?
[Carolyn Meyer] I discovered this story when I moved to Texas in 1990 and began to make the long drive across the Texas Panhandle. One day I stopped in a Dairy Queen in the little town of Quanah and picked up a brochure on the local history. Quanah was the name of a Comanche chief whose mother was a white woman named Cynthia Ann Parker, kidnapped from her family at the age of 9. She grew up with the Comanches, learned their language and customs, married and had 3 children. When her youngest was an infant, Texas Rangers seized her and the baby girl and took them back to civilization. Cynthia Ann had been kidnapped a second time!
[Manga Maniac Café] Why did you decide to write about Cynthia Ann Parker’s life?
[Carolyn Meyer] Captivity stories were common in the 19th century, but Cynthia Ann was kidnapped TWICE! Her story is well known in Texas, but I couldn’t find any books that told the story the way I thought it should be told. It really tugged at my heartstrings.
[Manga Maniac Café] What three words best describe Cynthia Ann Parker?
[Carolyn Meyer] Terrified – courageous – steadfast.
[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?
[Carolyn Meyer] Showing her slow, reluctant acculturation back into the white world that she had left behind, and getting into her feelings during her ordeal.
[Manga Maniac Café] What kind of research did you conduct for the book?
[Carolyn Meyer] I learned all I could about the lives of early pioneers in Texas as well as everything I could about the Comanches. I also visited the log cabin in Ft. Worth where she lived after being rekidnapped. Remember, I wrote this book more than 20 years ago, and I didn’t have access to all the material now available on the internet, including the virtual tour of that cabin that I just discovered (see www.logcabinvillage.org/tour-parker-cynthia-parker.html).
What a help that would have been!
[Manga Maniac Café] What is the most interesting fact you discovered about Comanche culture?
[Carolyn Meyer] The Comanches lived their lives on horseback, constantly on the move. I can scarcely imagine what a rough life that would have been.
[Manga Maniac Café] Are you excited to see this book in print again?
[Carolyn Meyer] Excited and amazed. This book was my first attempt at writing a historical novel, and it changed my life. I’ve never looked back.
[Manga Maniac Café] What do you enjoy most about writing historical novels?
[Carolyn Meyer] The research. I really get lost in the details of lives so completely different from ours and yet, at heart, very much the same.
[Manga Maniac Café] Can you share a little about your next project?
[Carolyn Meyer] I’m wrapping up the last revisions (at least I hope they’re the last!) of VICTORIA REBELS, due out in January 2013. And I have several ideas simmering in my brain with a few scribbles on the backs of envelopes, but nothing definite yet.
[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!
[Carolyn Meyer] Many thanks to you, Julie, for your interest in my work.
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