What if the past had turned out differently? What if the outcomes of history were flipped—changed completely? What would the world look like today?
The U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 was a watershed event in Minnesota and American history with tragic and long-lasting results. But what if the defeated were the victorious? What if Little Crow and the Dakota joined forces with Hole-in-the-Day and the Ojibwe? What if an allied Native front overran Fort Ridgely, swept through New Ulm, and defeated U.S. forces at Fort Snelling? What if, on December 26, 1862, thirty-eight white Euro-American settlers were hanged while thousands of others were herded into forced internment at Bdote and later exiled from beyond the borders of the state? What if Minnesota wasn’t Minnesota at all? What if it was Mni Sota Makoce, a Native held and governed land?
These are the questions I am trying to answer in my newest novel, an alternative history that reimagines The U.S.–Dakota War of 1862. By asking these questions, I seek to view the past from another perspective. By shifting the perspective, I hope to illuminate the wrongs of the past while showing their direct connection to the present. Using well-rounded characters whose allegiances are both mixed and challenged, this story asks readers to reconsider their notions of right and wrong. It brings to life a world that might have been, demonstrating that everyone had something to gain and something to lose—someone to hate and someone to save. Culturally rich and historically detailed this alternative history gives readers a new way to look at the past and its legacy for today.
The novel, which is untitled, has not yet been set for publication. I am currently working on the first rounds of revision and plan to begin submitting the story to publishers early next year. In the meantime, I still have plenty of projects to keep me busy.
This October, I will be an exhibitor at the 2020 South Dakota Festival of Books. This is my first time attending the SD Festival of Books and I’m excited to share my work with a new audience of readers. Kicking off on October 1, this virtual festival includes numerous authors, publishers, and literary and historical organizations. Extending through October 23, the festival has dozens of events that include readings, lectures, and workshops, most of which are free to attend. For a complete event schedule visit the website here: http://sdhumanities.org/festival-of-books/schedule/.
I’ve also recently launched my own small press called History Through Fiction. I began this press with a desire to share history using the same unique approach that I use in my own novels—combining elements of fiction and nonfiction. Books by History Through Fiction are based on real historical events and people and are rooted in real historical documentation. Our authors create compelling fictional narratives, bringing history to life through scene, setting, and dialogue, while also providing readers the resources to further investigate and understand history. Our first title, The Education of Delhomme: Chopin, Sand, & La France is being released this November.
While I strive to make a career out of writing and publishing, I’m not there yet. I currently work as a para educator for Coon Rapids High School. In this role I work with students with specialized needs, assisting them with their exams and coursework. This is my first year at Coon Rapids but my eighth within the Anoka-Hennepin School District. After school, I coach high school boys soccer at St. Francis High School. This is my seventh season at St. Francis and I really enjoy being a part of a team and being out on the soccer field every day. Finally, I also work weekends as a pizza delivery driver for Parkway Pizza in Northeast Minneapolis. I’ve worked several years at Parkway and I’m grateful to work in a fun, fast-paced environment alongside a hard-working and supportive team.
Stay tuned for more content and updates. Please visit me—virtually—at the upcoming 2020 SD Festival of Books, share my books with your friends, family, and colleagues, and make sure to follow me on all my social media channels!