Jenny Knipfer–Author

Writing to inspire, encourage, and enjoy

Book Title: ‘Tho I Be Mute * Author: Heather Miller * Publication Date: 13th July 2021 * Publisher: Defiance Press and Publishing * Page Length: 340 Pages * Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance

I have not read ‘Tho I Be Mute yet but would like to. It sounds interesting, especially with its Native American vein! If you’ve read my books, you’ll know that plays a part in my series, By the Light of the Moon. So today, as a part of the Coffeepot Book Club, I am happy to feature this historical fiction romance novel.

Home. Heritage. Legacy. Legend.

In 1818, Cherokee John Ridge seeks a young man’s education at the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut. While there, he is overcome with sickness yet finds solace and love with Sarah, the steward’s quiet daughter. Despite a two-year separation, family disapproval, defamatory editorials, and angry mobs, the couple marries in 1824.

Sarah reconciles her new family’s spirituality and her foundational Christianity. Although, Sarah’s nature defies her new family’s indifference to slavery. She befriends Honey, half-Cherokee and half-African, who becomes Sarah’s voice during John’s extended absences.

Once arriving on Cherokee land, John argues to hold the land of the Cherokees and that of his Creek neighbors from encroaching Georgian settlers. His success hinges upon his ability to temper his Cherokee pride with his knowledge of American law. Justice is not guaranteed.

Rich with allusions to Cherokee legends, ‘Tho I Be Mute speaks aloud; some voices are heard, some are ignored, some do not speak at all, compelling readers to listen to the story of a couple who heard the pleas of the Cherokee.

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Author Guest Post:

As a teacher, I discovered the art of creative writing while seeking new material for innovative teaching. I enrolled at a local university and took a “Researched Fiction” course to refuel my curriculum and instruction. When the professor wrote “What is a novel?” on the whiteboard during the class’ first meeting, I rolled my eyes, assuming I would learn nothing from her or the twenty-something English graduate students surrounding the conference table. However, at the second class, on a field trip to Special Collections, my paradigm shifted from learning more about what others had written to what I could craft myself,

Special Collections Libraries spawn a unique exhilaration for historical novelists. They are the places of primary sources: actual words and authentic voices articulated from dusty, cradled books and microfiche newspapers long out of print. While classic works of fiction provide culture and social commentary, cursive signatures on deeds and treaties, pen-named arguments in ‘letters to the editor’ allow modern pursuers to hear history’s voices. Historical fiction creative writers seek mastery in the art of hearing voices. This genre’s authors become weavers of forgotten words, crafters who collate volumes of research to stories following time’s winners and losers, the oppressor and the oppressed, the built and the burnt. It is an honor to breathe life into history’s words again. 

When beginning the Researched Fiction course work, I found myself inspired by the single-chaptered, Tiresias-like archetype from the denouement of Charles Frazier’s Odyssey allegory, Cold Mountain—the medicine woman who resides alone on a mountainside, providing spiritual aid to the hero who happenstances to cross her path. My curiosity about her elicited subsequent questions: How did she learn the skills medicinal skills she offered to the hero? How did she gain her astute philosophy of living while so remaining isolated? What spawned her retreat from society? Where was her family? Answers led me to the Ridge family discovered among the pages of Cherokee history in Special Collections libraries. Voices, ever-alive, spoke from the pages of the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper, treaties signed with ink and quill expunging the tragedy endured through Cherokee removal.

My debut novel, ‘Tho I Be Mute, began. Two and a half years later, I’ve read more than I ever have in my life and written more than I ever thought I could.

Author Bio: Heather Miller

As an English educator, Heather Miller has spent twenty-three years teaching her students the author’s craft. Now, she is writing it herself, hearing voices from the past.

Miller’s foundation began in the theatre, through performance storytelling. She can tap dance, stage-slap someone, and sing every note from Les Misérables. Her favorite role is that of a fireman’s wife and mom to three: a trumpet player, a future civil engineer, and a future RN. There is only one English major in her house.

While researching, writing, and teaching, she is also working towards her M FA in Creative Writing. Heather’s corndog-shaped dachshund, Sadie, deserves an honorary degree.

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Thank You:

Thanks, Heather for your post and blessings on your book!

Friends, what’s on your reading shelf? Are you a part of an in-person or online bookclub?

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