Pre-Launch party is
and her book
“From the Bone”
General author questions:
Tell us some stuff about yourself like where you are from, your family, your job, your hobbies, etc…
My home is in the hills of southeastern Oklahoma, a unique culture of inter-related, mixed blood families who have lived there since Oklahoma Territory. It is a culture in which seeing spirits and having premonitions is not unusual; the land carries memories and stories in layers of time. This place, the culture, is backdrop to my writing
For many years I have lived on the West Coast and for decades worked for tribes until I retired in 2011. American Indian communities are the nearest I can come to the culture in which I grew up, the values and the assumptions about reality. Amongst tribes is where I feel at home.
Besides writing, I work with plant medicines. I edit the writing of two herbalists who live near me. And sometimes when there is a ceremony and many cooks are needed, I help prepare traditional meals.
What is your favorite thing to do to relax?
How long have you been writing?
I began writing in my early twenties as a way to capture the dynamics and emotions that seemed difficult to express, and also to access the mysteries that are sometimes revealed when writing poetry. Regretfully, I didn’t save what I wrote in my early life. Once the writing had done its job, I set it aside.
What is your writing schedule like? Do you listen to music when you do?
I write best in the early morning. It seems to me the time of day when my characters are most alive, when the action is most apt to surprise me. There are times when I prefer silence, but if I am stuck, I listen to American Indian music that is dramatic and intense. It inspires me to push a little further, deeper.
Questions about your book:
Tell us the name of your book and what it is about.
The book title is “From the Bone.” It is autobiographical, my childhood reaching into my middle adulthood. It is about childhood abuse including sexual abuse. I try to capture the complex family dynamics. The book reflects my early confusion of feeling both love and anger. I describe how the dynamics of abuse sets the script for adult relationships, and I chronicle the journey into recovery. The book includes people who arrived at a saving moment, and how they became guides for my life’s work with other victims.
In your book you talk about Abuse or addiction, sometimes both, what made you write about this?
I wrote the book as a way to understand my journey, to get perspective, and to understand the way abuse imbeds itself in personality. Writing was a way to remember those who didn’t make it, who didn’t survive. As difficult as my life was, I realized early that I was also lucky; I had allies. Some girls I knew did not.
Is the abuse you wrote about from firsthand experience, research or some other knowledge?
It is my story. I was physically and sexually abused.
If you came across someone who was in the shoes of your lead character (I know that sometimes this is you the author), what would you tell them?
To a victim of abuse I would say, “Look for allies, both human and spiritual. Find one truth and hang onto it. Know there is a future without abuse and what has happened does not define who you are.”
I became a counselor working with abuse victims and also offenders. In mid-life I began to develop both outpatient and residential programs for people who have addictions and PTSD resulting from early, multiple traumas including abuse.
There is a role in many American Indian longhouses called “ the witness.” The witness watches, others know the witness is watching. The presence of a witness changes what people do. I take this teaching to mean that we can be effective by how we are known in our social and family groups. To become known as someone who does not accept violence, doesn’t condone substance abuse patterns, brings change to those around us. I have seen this happen, seen groups change under the impact of nothing more than a few people who no longer laugh at the jokes, who are silent when someone’s behavior strays toward verbal violence.
What did you hope to accomplish when you wrote this book?
My goal in writing the book was to map the journey, to capture the complexity of love and anger, helplessness, defiance. I wanted to record how much I loved my father, how magical he and my mother were, and, yet, the abuse was horrible. I wanted to weave the story of their abusive childhoods too, to weave what happened to them into the larger story of the extended family.
Your other work:
What else have you written?
I have written two books of poetry: “The Language of Shape and Shadow,” and “Calling Song.” I have also written “The Blue Child Series: On the Mountain.” I write a blog at dreamtalkwithjune.com and one at thebluechildseries.com.
What projects are you working on now?
I am writing the second book, “The Road North,” of the Blue Child Series.
How can people find you on the internet?
Where can people buy the book?
Click the cover photo to purchase from Amazon