Saturday, 16 November 2013

I am Nuchu By Brenda Stanley

I AM NUCHU: a story of living close but far apart, written by Uncommon YA author Brenda Stanley.

By Brenda Stanley

When I wrote I AM NUCHU, I was a teenage mother living on the outskirts of the Fort Duchesne Indian Reservation in Eastern Utah.  I never even considered seeking publication because at the point in my life, I wrote to escape the situation I had landed and felt I would never be able to rise above it.  I had no car, television, or typewriter.  It was 1982, and so there certainly were no computers.  I watched from the sidelines as these two groups of people, the Native Americans on the reservation and the people who lived in town, lived so close to each other and yet were so far apart.

Neither group seemed to understand the other nor did either seem interested in trying.  The few interactions I saw were strained and awkward.  When I wrote the novel, I wondered what it would be like to have one foot in each world and how my main character, Cal would react, and how both groups would treat him.  Being half white and half Native American, he would face questions about his family, his culture, and his future.

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The murder mystery in the novel not only explains why there is so much conflict in Cal’s life, but also shows the similarities both groups have when it comes to family, loyalty, and being human.

It took a lot of time before I felt comfortable about seeking publication, and the pain of having it rejected numerous times, was torture, but I refused to quit and eventually a publisher bought it.

I thought that would be the end of the struggles, but I was wrong. The controversy surrounding this novel started when some of the Native American book bloggers learned that I wasn’t Native American.  Without even reading the book, they gave it terrible reviews and encouraged others to ban it.  However, representatives from Fort Duchesne have been supportive and encouraging and feel the book is an accurate depiction of life there.  The Fort Hall School District in Eastern Idaho has adopted the book into their curriculum and other secondary school teachers have endorsed it.  I am especially happy that this book appeals to teenage boys. Libraries have suggested it for that age group and gender.

It’s been over thirty years since I wrote I AM NUCHU on legal pads.  I am now in a completely different place in life, but I am encouraged to hear that my novel still appeals to readers.

Buy I AM NUCHU! Brenda Stanley Books, Amazon US, Amazon Canada, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound

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