In the time since Ghost Mountain was released, I’ve been asked a lot of questions about writing in general and my writing in particular.
The questions have run the gambit from things like “what kind of books do you read?” (I prefer mysteries but will read just about anything that’s been recommended to me) to “what do you do when you aren’t writing?” (Knit, read, work as a web site designer at my day job).
However, the most asked question has to be “how’s the next book coming?” I’m finally able to answer with something besides “I’m working on it.”
Sleeping Bear, the sequel to Ghost Mountain, is in the publication process and I really couldn’t be happier. The story takes place in August during a well-known motorcycle event in South Dakota. The influx of tourists during the annual affair increases the small town’s population 100-fold.
Bear Butte, called Mato Paha by the Lakota people, also plays a role in the upcoming novel. The Butte—like Devils Tower from Ghost Mountain—is a sacred site located in the Black Hills, and is really not a butte but a small mountain. Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and Sitting Bull have all prayed at Bear Butte. Today vision quests, sweat lodges and other ceremonies are held there and the trees are filled with colorful prayer cloths.
I don’t think I consciously set out to write about the sacred sites of the Lakota people. I do, however, set my stories in the Black Hills and Western South Dakota. I live here and it’s easy to visit the site and get a “feel” for the location. Devils Tower and Bear Butte are two of the most beautiful places around. And they both have a history that is long and fascinating.
I think everywhere has places that set the tone—historical sites, geographical anomalies, sacred places. It’s the responsibility of people today to recognize those places and preserve the spot, the legend, and the history for future generations.
What are the places in your area like that? Those “hidden gems” of the community? More importantly, do you visit those sites? Let me know!
Nichole R. Bennett has been an avid mystery reader from a young age. Her first novel, Ghost Mountain, is available from Second Wind Publishing. When she’s not writing, Nichole can be found doing a plethora of crafty things, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, or spending too much time online. Oh, and reading.