new improved Strikes-the-Sky question… and an almost answer

Sara has more questions regarding Strikes-the-Sky:

So now I’m going to do the bold and unthinkable and ask you a question, which as author you aren’t obligated to address (though I surely hope you will). Why — when his character was so immediately interesting, endearing and obviously significant — did you have Strikes-the-Sky die? I simply sensed such potential had he lived — in whatever circumstance. I humbly admit, however, that I have secretly hoped he still did live, and I know that however the story ends up it will be right.

It’s an interesting question, but not easy to answer. Why does any character die? Why does Strikes-the-Sky die? Was that a cold blooded, cold hearted decision on my part?

To be truthful, I don’t even remember when I knew that Strikes-the-Sky wouldn’t be around for Fire Along the Sky. What I knew, before I started writing, was very little beyond a basic fact: Hannah needed to be in the Ohio territory during the time Tecumseh was trying to unite the tribes. She had to be a part of that, and to experience first hand what was coming for all the first peoples. Strikes-the-Sky took her there, and made it possible for her to have those experiences.

The loss of her husband and son is mirrored and made more intense by a larger loss of what was widely believed to be the last real chance for the native peoples to resist European encroachment. But I never sat down and reckoned this all out for myself. It happened behind the door of my subconscious, and then appeared one day as a done deal.

I don’t know if that is an answer that will help anybody understand the process, but it’s as close as I can get to describing how things came to pass for Strikes-the-Sky.