Crimson Sky will win over anyone who enjoys reading historical romance novels. Set in the late 1500s against a New Mexico background, Zia, a mother and wife, struggles as her family and her tribe face their fourth drought. When the men leave the tribe to hunt for food, a neighboring group of people attack their village and steal what little food was left. Oh, and this is where the drama begins.
Between Zia putting herself into a hunter’s role to provide food for her child, believing her husband is dead, negotiating labor for food to a Spanish Colony, and falling for Captain Diego, this novel takes Zia on many twists and turns and tests her strength and loyalty to her tribe.
Is Zia’s husband really dead? Is Captain Diego really the man she believes him to be? Will Zia turn her back on her tribe’s culture for the Spanish colony’s spiritual beliefs? This is a very satisfying read. I strongly believe that anyone who enjoys reading will be able to relate to Zia drive and determination, and that she will quickly become one of your favorite heroines. I absolutely recommend Crimson Sky. It is a fabulously written story that can be appreciated on so many levels.
5 Questions with Gretchen Craig
1. What inspired you to write Crimson Sky
The first time I went out West, we visited Bandelier National Monument, a huge park west and a little north of Santa Fe. Frijoles Canyon cuts through the plateau, and in this arid land, nourishes Ponderosa pines and cliff roses, squirrels and deer. Adobe ruins on the canyon floor and cave dwellings on the cliff face are astounding. You can walk around and even climb into these old homes. I want to live there! I went home and researched the area and the people and, you know how it is, the more you know about a subject the more you want to know. The people of that canyon moved only a few miles downriver to establish the Cochiti Pueblo, which I imagined as the ancient home of my characters in Crimson Sky.
2. Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?
Strangely, my favorite character is Diego, the sort-of bad guy. Well, some readers tell him he’s just plain bad. He’s a creature of his time and culture, a conquistador who has never had any reason to question his own beliefs, nor his own right to dominance and vengeance. He certainly has his brutal side, but he’s not a brute. Not to me. When I think of Diego, I mostly think of his vulnerable, needy heart. He has love to give, but he’s too unsure of his own worthiness to believe Zia will stay with him without coercion. He’s a flawed man, but I love him.
3. What is your favorite scene in the book?
Hmm. Oddly, the scenes easiest to write were TapanAshka’s. He’s the hero on a difficult journey to get home to his wife and child. He does have moments of introspection and lots of moments of yearning, but he is primarily a man of action. I think when he kills the big wildcat may be the scene I most enjoyed writing not only because of the energy and danger, but also because the moment has great meaning for TapanAshka. I also especially like the scene in the kiva when Zia faces her accuser, who insists she’s a witch. By the end of the scene, she’s free and her accuser is the one executed for witchery.
4. What is one writing quirk you would like to share with us?
I’m not sure this is all that unusual for writers, but I cry when I write poignant scenes. And when I reread and revise, I cry again. And when I reread and revise yet again, I cry. Don’t know what that means except I’m sure in touch with my weepy self.
5. Are you working on a new novel? If so, can you share a little bit about it with us?
My Work In Progress takes place about 1870 when Miami was just a sleepy fishing village. Theena, one of three sisters, is a young woman ruled by her heart and by her acceptance of others’ evaluation of her as dreamy and helpless. If I told you how many criss-crosses there are in A loves B who loves C who also loves B, you’d think I’d written another Peyton Place, but it isn’t like that. My characters have divided hearts, but each strives for integrity and honor, and on the way, Theena becomes a woman of character and strength. And this time, instead of being set against a backdrop of pueblos and mesas, the story takes place on the narrow strip of land between the Atlantic, or Biscayne Bay, and the Everglades. Lots of mosquitoes and palm trees, sand fleas and gators. And yes, I am still crying as a revise the sad scenes.