What was the inspiration for A Whisper of Peace?
Of all the strange things, a portable organ (similar to today's accordion) in a museum display case was the spark that began this story. The note attached to the organ said it had been used by a traveling minister in the 1890s who visited Indian villages. Immediately, Clay began coming to life in my imagination.
The title has significance in the story and is a perfect choice. Did the title come first or the story?
The title was chosen by the Bethany House committee after the story was finished, and I think it's perfect, too. Each of the characters desperately needed a whisper of God's peace to enter their hearts. I couldn't be happier with the title.
How much research went into this story?
Since I'm not an Alaska resident, I did a great deal of research about the landscape, the climate, and the animal life, flora, and fauna. I had great fun stepping away from my usual "prairie" setting.
You used an Indian language throughout the story; is this actual language?
Yes, this is the Deg Xinag language used by the Athabascans who refer to themselves as Dine'e ("the people"). In researching the Athabascan people, I came across an on-line dictionary developed by the elders of the Deg Xinag residents of Anvik, Alaska. Because the sentence structure is very different from English (for instance, "The local language is gathered together" translates to "Deg Xinag Alixi Ni'elyoy" in the Athabascan tongue), I tried to avoid using complete sentences knowing it would be very hard for my readers to make sense of it. Instead, I injecting single words where context would offer understanding for the reader. It's actually a lovely language to hear spoken.
How much of this story is based on historical fact?
White missionaries did enter Alaska to minister to Native peoples in the late 1800s and early 1900s, so Clay's arrival in Alaska was very historically accurate.