August 07, 2013

Guest Post: Sue Harrison's Mother Earth Father Sky and Song of the River

Please welcome Sue Harrison as part of her virtual tour while promoting the re-issue of her novels, Mother Earth Father Sky and Song of the River.

With Gratitude for Curses and Blessings
In my twenty-eighth winter, I experienced a spark of inspiration that generated the inception of my first novel, Mother Earth Father Sky. I was looking out a window at the cold Upper Michigan forest that surrounded our house, and I realized that I knew the species of every tree simply by the way the limbs branched from their trunks. I began to consider the outdoor survival skills I had accumulated under the tutelage of my husband and my father, and I fell in love with the idea of writing about the people who best understand how to live in natural environments—North American natives.

I culled my personal stash of books and begged and borrowed from the bookshelves of my friends and relatives. I spent days and hours at libraries, and I interviewed native people. I studied native languages.

Eventually, I found the book that would change my life, Aleuts: Survivors of the Bering Land Bridge, by William S. Laughlin. Laughlin’s research introduced me to the people who settled on those islands that divide the Bering Sea from the North Pacific. The Aleuts’ ancestors came to North America from Asia more than nine thousand years ago, and, although they have faced earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and many incursions of inhospitable peoples, they have survived. Their descendants still live on those islands today. 

You’ve probably heard the ancient curse, “May you live in interesting times.” Few of us want to live in interesting times with the resulting loss and destruction. However, most readers welcome protagonists who survive interesting times. In the Aleut people, I discovered a multitude of courageous survivors.
As I researched and wrote Mother Earth Father Sky and my five subsequent Alaska novels, I found myself in the heady company of those writers who build the foundations for their stories upon the rugged landscape of that ancient curse. They count their efforts worthwhile when their words morph curses into blessings and send readers on wondrous journeys that can calm the winds and waters of ordinary lives. While I don’t claim to have achieved that goal, each morning when I sit down to write, my heart sings for the possibilities of ancient curses and storied blessings.

About Mother Earth Father Sky
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Open Road Media
ISBN: 0380715929

A young woman fights for survival amid the brutality of the last Ice Age

It’s 7056 BC, a time before history. On the first day that Chagak’s womanhood is acknowledged within her Aleut tribe, she unexpectedly finds herself betrothed to Seal Stalker, the most promising young hunter in the village. A bright future lies ahead of Chagak—but in one violent moment, she loses her entire way of life. Left with her infant brother, Pup, and only a birdskin parka for warmth, Chagak sets out across the icy waters on a quest for survival and revenge.

Mother Earth Father Sky is the first book of the Ivory Carver Trilogy, which also includes My Sister the Moon and Brother Wind.

Praise for Mother Earth Father Sky
“Mythic storytelling.” —The Washington Post Book World

“Sue Harrison joins the ranks of Jean Auel and Linda Lay Shuler.” —The Houston Post

“Memorably great . . . in between the satisfying details of an ancient culture, you smell the sweet heather, taste the wind, hear the roaring surf and sense the joy of primeval love.” —Ruth Beebe Hill, author of Hanta Yo

“A book of haunting beauty and emotional power. I became the Aleut girl-woman in Ice Age Alaska, and the carver, the seal hunter, the shaman . . . A remarkable book of passion, tenderness, and the indomitable human spirit, masterfully researched and beautifully written.” —Linda Lay Shuler, author of She Who Remembers

“A moving and credible story . . . Harrison expertly frames dramatic events with depictions of prehistoric life in the Aleutian Islands.” —The New York Times Book Review

About Song of the River
Publication Date: May 28, 2013
Open Road Media
ISBN: 0380726033

Two ancient tribes on the verge of making peace become foes once more when a double murder jeopardizes a storyteller’s mission

Eighty centuries ago, in the frozen land that is now Alaska, a clubfooted male child had been left to die, when a woman named K’os rescued him. Twenty years later and no longer a child, Chakliux occupies the revered role as his tribe’s storyteller. In the neighboring village of the Near River people, where Chakliux will attempt to make peace by wedding the shaman’s daughter, a double murder occurs that sends him on a harsh, enthralling journey in search of the truth about the tragic losses his people have suffered, and into the arms of a woman he was never meant to love.

Song of the River is the first book of the Storyteller Trilogy, which also includes Cry of the Wind and Call Down the Stars.

Praise for Song of the River
“Harrison once again displays her first-rate storytelling talents, here in a rousing tale of murder, revenge, and internecine warfare . . . A warm yarn from the frozen North as authentic as all get-out.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Sue Harrison joins the ranks of Jean Auel and Linda Lay Shuler.” —The Houston Post

“A remarkable storyteller.” —Detroit Free Press

“Lyrical . . . compelling . . . a timeless tale of the best and the worst of humankind in a land where the mundane mixes naturally with the mystical.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

About the author
Sue Harrison grew up in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and graduated summa cum laude from Lake Superior State University with a bachelor of arts degree in English language and literature. At age twenty-seven, inspired by the cold Upper Michigan forest that surrounded her home, and the outdoor survival skills she had learned from her father and her husband, Harrison began researching the people who understood best how to live in a harsh environment: the North American native peoples. She studied six Native American languages and completed extensive research on culture, geography, archaeology, and anthropology during the nine years she spent writing her first novel, Mother Earth Father Sky, the extraordinary story of a woman’s struggle for survival in the last Ice Age. A national and international bestseller, and selected by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books for Young Adults in 1991, Mother Earth Father Sky is the first novel in Harrison’s critically acclaimed Ivory Carver Trilogy, which includes My Sister the Moon and Brother Wind. She is also the author of Song of the River, Cry of the Wind, and Call Down the Stars, which comprise the Storyteller Trilogy, also set in prehistoric North America. Her novels have been translated into thirteen languages and published in more than twenty countries. Harrison lives with her family in Michigan’s Eastern Upper Peninsula.

For more information please visit Sue Harrison's website. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Meet Sue Harrison

Visit the other tours for more guest posts, reviews and giveaways - HFVBT TOUR SCHEDULE
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A note from your host...

I read Mother Earth Father Sky many years ago and even after all these years, I remember loving it. I recommend it. 


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