Exploring the Tewakwe

Those of you who are familiar with the Vinlanders’ Saga, will remember that the Tewakwe have had prominent roles in the first two books of the series. Tiva’ti and her people will return in the next (still untitled) book. (That’s why I asked my cover designer, Jaycee DeLorenzo, to put petroglyphs on the new covers.) I’ve reread the earlier novels and have been refreshing my memory of the research into their background. Hopefully that will keep me from making any obvious errors! (Yes, authors do sometimes forget what they wrote in the earliest books of a series.)

How does one research a people who live in a fantasy world that’s associated with  Norse mythology? Well, like the Nuvinlanders, the Tewakwe are transplants from our own past. The Anasazi built elaborate cliff dwellings and places of worship, and disappeared from the American Southwest in the 13th Century. Their thriving civilization seemed to just vanish, giving rise to many speculative theories about their fate.

In the Vinlander Saga I imagine that the Anasazi were brought to Alfheim, or the Fifth World as they call it, by Spider Grandmother. I renamed them the Tewakwe, because the word “Anasazi” is actually a Navajo word, sometimes translated “ancient enemies.” They wouldn’t call themselves that, so I made up a name that they might have identified with.

As for their customs, I was inspired by the Hopi, a descendant tribe who still live in the northeastern part of Arizona. They are a very private people, but we do know that their underlying values are compassion, humility, cooperation, respect, and universal earth stewardship. I’m trying to let this guide me as I develop my characters, while still remembering that they are flawed human beings—just as we all are.

Just in case you missed it last month, Dangerous Talents is free today (Thursday, 9/24). Download a copy, or give one to a friend if you haven’t already.

Stay safe and happy reading!

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