Several readers have asked for a page that answers their questions about the book, so by popular demand, this is it! Julie thinks that the best part of writing fiction is imagining alternate worlds and mixing up a small echo of reality with a very large dose of fiction to create a fun, magical reading escape.
(Careful, might be spoilers if you haven’t finished the book!) Below are some of the main reader questions so far:
- Is Cape Disappointment a real place? Yes! It is indeed. Cape Disappointment is on the southern Washington State coast, bordering the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River. It’s a few hours away from both Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. Julie has visited the area several times and came up with the idea for the novel on her first camping trip to the area. Of course, Julie took creative liberties with many regional descriptions, because that’s the fun of fiction- creating a world that looks enough like ours to feel familiar, yet still has the magic of a whole new world that we can only visit in the pages of a novel.
- What about the legends? Coyotes and Ravens do feature prominently in Pacific Northwest legends, however, the keelalle legends in the book are completely imagined by the author. To learn more about the Native American legends, there are several books about the legends of different tribes and some grouped by regions like the Pacific Northwest or Columbia River area. The concept of a ‘veil between worlds’ is a new spin on an ancient idea considered throughout the world in many cultures. The legends created for the novel echo universal legends throughout the ages and across many cultures, as humans have always told stories to explain the world around them.
- And Meriwether Lewis- What’s the real story? If we were playing ‘four truths and a lie‘ these are the truth: Meriwether lived at Monticello while working as secretary for President Jefferson, Meriwether’s cause of death is still debated today, the Lewis family do want to solve the mystery of his death, and there are over four hundred days of missing journal entries by Lewis during the expedition. The lie is that Meriwether had a wife, since he never married. There’s also nothing in the journals about anyone in the Corps meeting a medicine woman while wintering at Fort Clatsop. For those interested, there are several books about Meriwether Lewis to learn more about him, including a “historic crime scene investigation” book about the 1996 Coroner’s Inquest into his case. Lewis and Clark wintered at Fort Clatsop for almost four months. There are also many resources (including historic sites) available to learn more about the Lewis and Clark Expedition, their time at Fort Clatsop, and the many people they met along the way.
- Is Chinook Jargon a real language? Yes and the phrases in the book are from Chinook Jargon dictionaries. While Chinook Jargon is not the language of the Clatsop, it was the primary trading language of the Columbia River area and was likely the language that Lewis and Clark used at the time to communicate with the Clatsop and Chinook tribes during their winter on the Columbia River in 1805. Since it was used in trade, the language is more documented than others which is it was selected for use in the novel. The idea that animals can speak Chinook Jargon is, obviously, completely imagined by the author!
- Was there a Cascadia tsunami in 1700? Many think so. There is some evidence that there was a Cascadia earthquake followed by tsunami-like floods in 1700. There are many articles and resources available on the Cascadia subduction zone, for those interested, including some estimating a high probability of another earthquake occurring within the next fifty years.
If you’d like a question of yours answered, please drop a line!