“Wah-Say-Lan” – Through the eyes of a Seneca

 

 

James Herbert Smith creates historical fiction by looking through the eyes of a young Seneca woman during the Revolutionary war.

When did you decide you wanted to publish a book?

After I read “Old Yeller” in 4th grade. I tried when I was 25 then I tried and succeeded when I was 53, though it took me 10 years to complete it.

What was your inspiration for the story?

We spent time every summer on Canandaigua Lake. As a boy I listened to my grandmother, aunts and uncles talk about the Seneca Indians on the lake. I day dreamed about how silent it must have been back then, just the lapping of their canoe paddles in the water. So the lake itself is my inspiration.

In your own words what are the book’s main themes?

It is a true story with fictional characters told from the Native American point of view through the eyes of a 17-year-old Seneca woman — Wah-Say-Lan — about how her people had lived on Canandaigua for eons but their life is about to be turned upside down. Through Jamwesaw, a slave fighting for his freedom in the Continental Army, the story also examines the contradiction of the Founding Fathers birthing a nation based on freedom and independence, yet many of them were slave owners. Jefferson and Washington are key characters in the book. There are lessons, but fundamentally it is a love story and an adventure story that readers tell me holds their interest.

How did it feel to write in the voice of your main character, Wah-Say-Lan?

She is a young, smart, strong, independent woman. I raised four young, smart, strong, independent daughters and so I had good role models for my character. I worried sometimes that I wasn’t smart enough to keep up with Wah-Say-Lan. That was a challenge.

Which character from the story do you identify with most?

That’s a tough question. One reviewer wondered aloud that Jamwesaw is similar to my own name. He is unquestionably the most noble character in the book — vowing to find and free his mother from slavery, willing to entirely change his life because of his love for Wah-Say-Lan. When you create characters (and have them interact with real historical figures) you really get inside their heads; and so I think I’d have to say that I identify with Wah-Say-Lan as much as with Jamwesaw.

What was the best part of writing this book and what was the most challenging?

The best part was finishing it and getting it published. My B.A. from SUNY Brockport is in American History and there are seven pages of bibliography and so the research was challenging, yet also a marvelous trip into Iroquois and American Revolutionary War scholarship. There is an awful lot of excellent scholarship on the Six Nations of the Iroquois, but not a lot of fiction. Creating the story and seeing people turn the page to see what is happening next is the most satisfying feeling.

“Wah-Say-Lan” is available through NH Booksellers for $19.95
Purchase the book here -bring your questions and your copy to be signed at the festival!

Perfect Pleasures, Whimsical Creatures for the Garden

John Kavosick can barely keep up with business these days.  His business, Perfect Pleasures, has taken wings.  And it’s no wonder!  With the adorable ladybugs, mosquitos and dragonflies in his collection, his business should take off!

dragon fly

John works out of a van crafting these whimsical little creatures of copper and brass.  He creates the dies which he uses to make  the ornaments and he hand cuts the wings.   He then paints them, using an airbrush.

“Their legs are chimes which dangle down so when a breeze blows, you’ll hear them chiming throughout your garden,” shared John.

cat

In addition to the bugs, John also has cats and dogs in his collection.  Each of the creatures, which are all about 3″ x 4″,  comes on a metal post to stick in the ground so they can be displayed throughout the garden,  along a walkway or any place you’d like to add a sense of whimsy!

“My ornaments aren’t made out of plastic, like many garden ornaments.  They’re carefully crafted out of metal, so they’ll last for years!”

Hop on down to visit John Kavosick and Perfect Pleasures at the Canandaigua Art & Music Festival from July 17-19, 2009.

Pat’s Crystal Nail Files – Great Designs, Smooth Lines

Pat Hostetter first began painting crystal nail files six years ago after seeing them at a craft show.

Many flower designs are available

Many floral designs are available

“She loved the nail files, but didn’t like any of the designs, so she decided to start painting her own,” laughs her son Shane, who also works in the business with her.  Together, they exhibit Pat’s Crystal Nail Files at more than 100 shows each year from as far south as South Carolina to as far north as Massachusetts.

angelset“We import the blank files from the Czech Republic where they’re created through a special acid-dipping process, and then my Mother hand paints each crystal nail file using small brushes, so each one is unique.”

Pat has a wide assortment of popular designs and she also does custom work, painting logos for businesses, sports teams and colleges as well as peoples’ names on the nail files.

“We guarantee that the crystal nail files will never wear out or get dull.  Bacteria will not build up on them and  they won’t rip up your nails like other files. People try our nail files and they’re sold on them!”

The crystal nail files can be purchased individually, or in a set that includes a  3 1/2″ travel size, a 5 1/2″ manicure file and a 7 1/2″ pedicure file that works great to smooth calluses.

Be sure to stop by and say hello to Shane Hostetter who’ll be exhibiting a large assortment of Pat’s Crystal Nail Files at the Canandaigua Art & Music Festival!