Thursday, May 17, 2012

Spirit of the Sky: An Interview with Author Paty Jager

Author Paty Jager joins us today as she tours for her latest release, the third book in her Spirit Series, so sit back and enjoy the beautiful book covers as we chat. Welcome Paty!

MK: Spirit of the Sky is the third in a paranormal series with a focus on the Nimiipuu, a Nez Perce tribe. What inspired you to combine these magical elements with the history of these people?

PJ: Growing up in Wallowa Valley, where the Lake band of the Nez Perce summered and wintered, I’ve always been fascinated by them. And I’ve always been fascinated by the legends and myths I’d heard. When the idea to write about this band came to me, I started learning all I could and reading books with their myths and legends. Learning about the weyakin spirit who comes to them during their vision quests which they take when they are of age, I decided to come up with spirits who looked out for this one band of NezPerce or Nimiipuu as they call themselves.

MK: What kind of research was involved for the series? Did you find it became easier with each book? 

PJ: I read many books by and about the Nez Perce, both non-fiction and fiction. I researched online at Nez Perce sites, and I connected with two tribe members who were willing to help me make sure my facts were correct and steer me in the right direction if I wanted to write a scene that they felt didn’t depict the Nez Perce correctly. I had to learn a lot about the way they lived before the Whiteman entered their lives for the first book and tried to not research ahead of the time frame I was writing to not put in things that they wouldn’t know. The second book was easier because I had learned a good bit about the day to day living for the first book, but then I had to research birth and the myths and protocol for that. The third book took me much longer to write because of the historical accuracy I had to keep. The third book followed their flight to freedom. I’d read about a campaign from both the military and Indian sides and then I’d write the scene in the book from my characters’ points of view. It was a long struggle and I hope I did the whole book justice.

MK:  Do you have a favorite character in Spirit of the Sky? Who and why?

PJ: I like all my characters. ;) I like the hero, Lt.Watts because of his compassion and determination to do right. The heroine, Sa-qan, for her conviction to her people and ultimately to her happiness.

MK: Without giving it all away, please tell us a little something about how Lt. Wade Watts and Sa-qan are going to get through their biggest challenge.

PJ: Wade has to realize the army isn’t a good substitute for family and to believe in the woman he’s fallen in love with. Sa-qan has to discover even though she watched over the Lake Nimiipuu for hundreds of years she was not what kept them strong, it was their own strength, resilience, and love of one another. Something she finds she has to use to keep her family together. 
MK: What has been your greatest challenge in writing Sprit of the Sky?

PJ: Keeping the history accurate from both sides- military and Nez Perce. And not trying to show a bias. Which was hard given the way things turned out.

MK: What has been your greatest pleasure in writing this book?

PJ: After Sa-qan having been a secondary character in the first two books, I enjoyed giving her her story and pitting her against herself when she realizes the feelings she has for not only a cavalry officer but a mortal. If you read the previous books you know the grief she gave her brothers for falling in love with mortals.

MK: I would read these books simply because of the covers – all in the series are beautiful! Did you have a part in their design?

PJ: Yes and no. ;) The first one I had a lot of input. I asked for a white wolf and a mountain similar to the mountain at the foot of Wallowa Lake(where the Nimiipuu wintered). The first cover I was sent looked like a nature book on wolves. I asked for a way to make it more romance looking and it came back with the super-imposed couple in the corner. I loved it! The second book, I said it needs an elk, he’s the spirit of Wallowa Lake and can it look like the first one.  When it was sent to me, I cried. Not only was it gorgeous but that is a photo of Wallowa Lake in the background!  The third book, I said, similar to the first two with an eagle and a cavalry officer.  And you see the results. I’m very pleased with the cover artists at The Wild Rose Press.  These covers have received many kudos.

MK: As a multi-genre author, how do you juggle going back and forth between historical, paranormal and contemporary?

PJ: It’s actually easier than one would think. And I don’t consider the spirit trilogy paranormal it feels historical to me. While the Spirit element classifies the books as paranormal it’s an entity of the Native American culture that feels a part of that culture. Slipping from contemporary to historical is a matter of word usage and settings. Not to mention I listen to different music depending on what I’m writing. Bluegrass and Celtic for historical writing and contemporary western music for the contemporary books and Native American music for the Native American books.

MK:  What is your favorite non-writing pastime?

PJ: Reading and riding my horse.

MK: What do you have in store next for your readers?

PJ: I have the first book of a trilogy going through final edits with the plan to have it available as an ebook end of June/ first of July. Secrets of a Mayan Moon is a contemporary action/adventure with romantic elements set in Guatemala. Isabella Mumphrey, PhD in Anthropology, specializing in Native American cultures, is lured to a Mayan dig and finds she’s to be a virgin sacrifice. Unbeknownst to the villains, Augustino Konstantine, an undercover DEA agent, has captured the doctor’s heart and deflowered her, making the sacrifice not only deadly to Isabella but sabotaging their chance at riches from the ceremony.

Thank you for having me here today, MK. I’ve enjoyed being interviewed by you.

Contest time from Paty!

I’m giving away a $5 egift certificate to Amazon to one lucky commenter on this post. And if you check out the places I’ve been on my tour, counting the different eagle photos, you can  send me the number of different eagle pictures you counted. If there is more than one correct entry I’ll draw a winner on May 21st  to receive a $25 gift certificate to either Barnes and Nobles or Amazon, a handmade custom ereader cover, and chocolate.

       You can learn more about Paty at her blog;  her website; or on Facebook;!/paty.jager and twitter; @patyjag. 

Discover the Series

Excerpt from Spirit of the Sky

Big Hole Montana, 1877
Sa-qan’s heart raced with anxiety. Her wings faltered as she circled above the devastating scene. The large number of soldiers moved with stealth through the growing light of day toward the Nimiipuu camped many moons from their beloved Wallowa country. The same soldiers who would soon invade the camp of her sleeping people had given Joseph and the other chiefs no choice. It was either move to a reservation under a treaty they did not sign or dash for freedom. They chose freedom and now must fight to survive.
She screeched out a warning, but no one would heed the call of a bald eagle. Short of showing herself to the Nimiipuu in mortal form, she could do nothing but hover over the carnage as the white soldiers first shot an unarmed old man checking his horses, and then charged into the sleeping camp spraying bullets into everything—women, children, the old—it did not matter to the soldiers if they were warriors or not. They called the Nimiipuu savages, but the Wallowa band had only killed those who tried to harm them on their flight from the soldiers forcefully taking their home.
The violence sickened Sa-qan. She was a spirit of the Nimiipuu, but she was useless against this many. Her wings weakened with each slain Nimiipuu. What can I do? she beseeched the Creator.
Warriors stumbled from their tepees, scrambling for cover and weapons. The celebration the night before now scoffed their good luck in finding a peaceful place to rest. With each spark and crack of a rifle and swipe of a sword their safety vanished.
Sa-qan landed on a rock on the hillside. Her chest ached. Screams, war cries, and rifle blasts echoed up the ravine. The acrid smoke of burned gun powder, stench of fear, and tang of blood filled the crisp morning air. She couldn’t call upon Wewukiye and Dove. Her brother and his wife kept watch over the forked-tongued leader of the soldiers, Cut Arm. His large group of soldiers were in pursuit, crossing the mountain pass, Lolo, the Nimiipuu traversed seven suns earlier.
Her keen eyesight sought Dove’s daughter, Girl of Many Hearts. The child had come to this earth nine summers earlier after a Whiteman raped her mother. Wewukiye had helped Dove, a mortal at the time, and fallen in love. But their working together to prove the Whiteman’s deceit had ended Dove’s mortal life and the Creator gave her the gift of being a spirit. Sa-qan caught a glimpse of Silent Doe, the child’s adoptive mortal mother, pushing Girl of Many Hearts into the willows along the river bank moments before the woman collapsed.
Dove’s daughter needs me! Sa-qan swooped down the hillside, spread her wings, and hovered at the top of the willows. Her body dissolved, changing to smoke, then restructuring into a mortal form. She dropped into the knee-deep, cold water beside Girl of Many Hearts.
“Shh…” she whispered into the child’s ear, hugging the small body close. She would not allow the soldiers to harm the child. Going against the Creator’s rule to not show herself in mortal form ticked at Sa-qan like an irritating woodpecker, but she saw no other way to save Dove’s daughter. She’d sworn nine summers ago after Dove became a spirit that she, Sa-qan, would always be there for Girl of Many Hearts when Dove was not around to care for her daughter. The mortal girl had become the child she would never have.
Splashing at the river’s edge heightened Sa-qan’s need to protect the child. With slow movements, she eased the child deeper into the cold water careful not to make ripples that might cause the tall, stiff weeds to reveal their hiding spot. She used her spirit txiyak, power, to fill the child with warmth. Her sharp sight watched for movement in the reeds. The rustle of the reeds behind her drew her attention. Would the soldiers try to surround a woman and child? A slight breeze fluttered across her tense face. The wind.
A deep voice cursed and splashing grew nearer.
Girl of Many Hearts stiffened in her arms as water rippled past their still bodies.
Read More


  1. Thank you for interviewing today Paty! It was fun and it's such a beautiful series. Congratulations!

  2. MK, Thank you for having me and asking great questions. Enjoy getting to know the rest of the spirit siblings.

  3. MK and Paty, Great interview! Paty, All three in the series are waiting in my TBR pile and I can't wait to get started. The covers are just gorgeous!


  4. Kirsten, Thank you for purchasing all three. If you've like what you've read in the blog tour, I'm pretty sure you won't be disappointed with the books. The people who haven't liked the books are ones who can't wrap their heads around the spirit element.(a best friend and one daughter) The my friend quoted some scenes she loved but said the spirit thing just didn't work for her. And I understand not everyone can grasp that. I can't grasp vampires and werewolves. ;)

  5. I thought the spirit element would throw me off at first, but I was surprised when it didn't. I can't usually grasp vampires and werewolves either, but it's been interesting to see what direction authors are going in their creativity.

  6. Lovely interview, Paty, and great excerpt. Simply loved it. I mention the Nez Perce in one of my books, too--my hero's father was from that tribe. Reserching them was enlightening. Wishing you great luck with the series! Looks like my Kindle just got a little fatter. ;-)

  7. Fun interview, Paty! Sounds like you really spent a lot of time and effort to research this trilogy and do the Nez Perce people proud. I loved the first book. Can't wait to read the other two. And I agree - gorgeous covers. They remind me of the Clan of the Cave Bear covers. Beautiful!

  8. I love your covers too! You can certainly tell from the detail in your books, the intense amount of research you do. Great post!

  9. MK, I agree, writers have vivid imaginations and can make some of the most interesting things come alive.

    Vonnie, They are an unique tribe that are interesting to learn about.

    Hey Danita, Thanks! I did spend lots of time researching and the covers are my faves.

    Hi Diana, Thank you!

  10. Very nice interview and excerpt. The research sounds fascinating.


  11. Lysette, MK asked great questions. The research was fascinating.

  12. Vonnie is my contest winner for this blog.