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Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I recall very well. I was nine years old when my best friend announced that she’d written a story. Already an avid reader, this was an epiphany moment for me—that a girl could write a story, about anything, anytime, for no particular reason. I guess that just hadn’t occurred to me. Instantly enamored with the idea, I had to give it a try. I did, and illustrated it too (I still have that story about a Plains Indian girl who rescues a wounded mustang), and have been passionate about writing ever since.
What inspired you to write your first book? The first grown-up, “for reals” novel I ever wrote, with some vague notion of trying to get it published one day, however that worked? I was about 22 when I started it. I’d just read The Lord of the Rings (again), as well as some books by Stephen Lawhead that introduced me to early Welsh Celtic lore and culture, and decided to try my hand at that genre.
Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write? Some of the authors who inspire me to go deeper and try harder after I’ve read their prose are Ellis Peters, James Alexander Thom, and Diana Gabaldon. There are, of course, many more, but those are the ones that spring first to mind.
What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors? One of those authors sited above (Diana Gabaldon) puts it something like this: 1. Read as much as you can (about writing; also good novels). When you find a writing technique that appeals, try it out and see if it works for you. 2. Write: just write, get those ideas down. This is hard work and will probably always feel like hard work. Do it anyway. 3. Write as much as you can (stopping only makes starting again harder, and as long as you keep at it you will improve).
I completely agree with and ascribe to this writing advice myself. Can’t think of anything better to pass along to other writers than what Diana told me (and countless other writers) many years ago.
How did you decide upon the title of A Flight of Arrows? This title carries a double meaning. This is a book about Native Americans in the 18th century. It’s also a book about the Revolutionary War. There are literal arrows flying about in its pages. But in the context of this story the word arrows also carries the Biblical connotation of children. This verse from Psalm 127 appears in the front matter of the book: “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” A Flight of Arrows is, among other things, a story about children reaching maturity and beginning to make their own choices, forge their own paths, through a rather tumultuous bit of
New York frontier
history, across the cultural, political and spiritual divides of the 1770s.
How important are names to you in your books? Did you choose the names of character in A Flight of Arrows based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend? Choosing names for characters is one of my favorite things to do when crafting a new story. Sometimes a character will show up with a name attached. Other times I have to search for the right name. Since many of my characters came to the American colonies from other countries, I’ll check websites that list names from that country or people group. I’ll check old ship manifest, or my family tree, which dates back to the 1600s. I’ve even been known to sit through movie credits reading as many names as I can catch as they scroll by, particularly if a movie was shot in the country of my character’s origin, because you’ll find plenty of locals listed in the crew. I can’t recall ever choosing a character’s name based on its meaning, but certainly I’ll choose a name that sounds euphonious to me. Unless for some reason I deliberately want it to sound otherwise—harsh or awkward or blunt.
What was it like coming back to Anna, Two Hawks, William and the rest for the second novel in the The Pathfinders series? Do you foresee any more stories for this family of characters? I was delighted to finish off the story of
Good Voice, Stone Thrower, Two Hawks, Anna, and William, begun in The Wood’s Edge (book 1 in The
Pathfinders series). This was the first time I’ve written a sequel to one of my
books, and it was certainly a comfortable place to begin, already knowing these
characters well. I was able to tackle the complex historical background of the
Revolutionary War—specifically the battle of Oriskany—on the New York frontier
without the usual added work of getting to know a new cast a of characters.
Though there are a few new ones sprinkled in, and even the characters readers
of The Wood’s Edge know well go
through plenty of new changes and growth through the pages of A Flight of Arrows. Reginald, Lydia
A Flight of Arrows blurb
Hearts are divided.
Loyalties will be tested.
The fates of two families hang in the balance.
No one connected to Reginald escaped unscathed from this crime. Not his adopted daughter Anna. Not Stone Thrower, the Native American father determined to get his son back. Not Two Hawks, William's twin brother separated since birth, living in the shadow of his absence and hoping to build a future with Anna. Nor
Now William, whose identity has been shattered after discovering the truth of his birth, hides in the ranks of an increasingly aggressive British army. The Redcoats prepare to attack frontier
Lori Benton was raised east of the
Mountains, where she was surrounded by three hundred years of
American history. Now her novels transport readers to the eighteenth century,
where she brings to life the Colonial and early Federal periods of our nation’s
history. She is the multiple-award-winning author of numerous books including
Burning Sky, The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, and The Wood’s Edge (Book one in
the Pathfinders series). Lori makes her home in Oregon.
Dramatic Story Begun in The Wood’s Edge
Second Book in The Pathfinders Series
“Open your ears to a story I will tell you. It is the story of a warrior, and some of you know. But you do not know the whole of it. Bear with me a while and you will.”
—From A Flight of Arrows
“The Pathfinders Series is really one story told across two books. A Flight of Arrows tells the second half—the life-altering consequences of choices the characters made in the first book, The Wood’s Edge—played out against the turmoil of an 18th century frontier war. It is also an intimate conversation between me and a sovereign, loving God, a statement of trust that He is working all things in my life together for good. Even the hard, heartbreaking things,”
A Flight of Arrows is the story of the consequences of Reginald Aubrey’s having stolen a baby during the fall of Fort William Henry. Aubrey renamed the child William and raised him as his own. No one connected to Reginald is without scars—not his adopted daughter Anna; not Stone Thrower, who is determined to get his son back; not Two Hawks, William’s twin brother separated since birth,; not Lydia, who longs for Reginald to break free from his emotional prison and embrace God’s forgiveness; and certainly not William, whose identity has been shattered after discovering the truth. Will these two families be able to survive all they have been through? Will any of them ever be able to trust God again?
In A Flight of Arrows,
message of trust is woven throughout the story. Her Author’s Notes give great
insight into her devotion to this series. A Reader’s Guide and a helpful
Glossary of Oneida/Iroquois words is also included, all designed give readers
an outstanding reading experience with A
Flight of Arrows. Benton
Lori Benton’s novels transport readers to the eighteenth century, where she brings the Colonial and early Federal periods of American history to life. When she isn’t writing, reading, or researching,
enjoys exploring the
wilderness with her husband. She is the author of Burning Sky, recipient
of three Christy Awards; The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn, an ECPA 2015
Christian Book Award finalist; and The Wood’s Edge. Learn more online at
loribenton.blogspot.com or at www.facebook.com/AuthorLoriBenton. Oregon
A Flight of Arrows
The Pathfinders Series, Book 2
by Lori Benton
400 pages, $14.99