As a girl, she always enjoyed creating her own fantasy world. She wrote and illustrated her first short story as an English composition while in grade school. It was about a mermaid who had to learn to swim.
Also a journalist, the Cherokee/Seminole heritage author has contributed articles to the Seminole Tribune and Indian Life newspapers. Schaller also writes historical and opinion blogs that focus on Native issues. One of her most recent appeared on Christian Post/Bindings in honor of American veterans: http://blogs.christianpost.com/bindings/2011/11/native-code-talkers-too-much-for-the-german-army-11/
Schaller is a member of the Native American Journalists Association, Florida Freelance Writers, Florida Publishers Association and other professional organizations.
Like Gray Rainbow Journey, the sequel, Journey by the Sackcloth Moon, focuses on the continuing angst of a Native American beauty who faces monumental clashes between the world of her Native culture and mainstream worlds and faiths. Both novels are published by OakTara Publishers.
Born in North Florida, Schaller has lived in Mississippi, the Florida Everglades, and currently resides in the Miami-Broward area of South Florida with her husband, Jim, mother Lilly, and the family’s two cats. Chief, a rescued stray from the Seminole Reservation, is the prototype for the feline character, Eddie Was in Schaller’s novels.
Schaller is currently writing a third novel in the series, Journey Through the Night’s Door.
If you gave one of your characters an opportunity to speak for themselves, what would they say?
My character, Dina Youngblood, is an impetuous young Native beauty who seeks to navigate the two worlds of Native Spirituality and the Jesus Way. At the same time, she wishes to maintain her Native identity.
She and her Jesus Way friends are in the distinct minority, but wish to be fully accepted in both worlds. She faces even greater challenges when she falls deeply in love with firebrand Traditional, Marty Osceola.
The plot thickens even more when Dina must then make the heart-wrenching choice between handsome Marty, and the older, more spiritually stable widower and Native evangelist, Aaron Burning Rain.
If Dina could speak, she would voice the same plaintive response as the tormented father in Mark 9:24 when told by Jesus that “…all things are possible to him that believeth.” The father answered Jesus with tears,
“Lord I believe: help thou mine unbelief.”
Dina comes to realize that as she “walks in two worlds” she must love one strongly enough to give up the other. I wonder sometimes, though, if many in the mainstream do not also walk in two world, unaware?
Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?
Yes, a third book is currently in the making as we speak, and is part of the Journey series.
Although my books are fiction, the books that have influenced my writing are largely nonfiction, and include Full Court Quest, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,, Lakota Woman; and
the King James and Complete Jewish Bible versions of Scripture.
Is there an author that you would like to meet?
In 1969, N. Scott Momaday became the first Native American to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his House Made of Dawn, and arguably, ushered in the Native American Renaissance. His book focused on a young Native man who experiences great difficulties in maintaining relationships and holding employment after he returned home from fighting in World
War II. I would like to chat with Momaday over a cup of coffee and ask him whether, if he wrote the story today, his perspective or approach would be radically different.
In order of preference, I like paperbacks. Hardcovers come next, and I’m warming up to books on Kindle. Something I can touch and carry around with me.
Do you buy a book by the cover?
I am very attracted to an eye-catching book cover, but it would not be my sole reason for purchasing a book.
Well, in a way. I use my my initials. KB Schaller.
My Early childhood memory is thatI’ve always wanted to contribute something of lasting value to the world. Still working on that.
Pet peeves: Book signing/Conference questions such as, “How far back does your family go?” And, “I met an Indian in (wherever). I don’t remember (his/her) name. Just wondered if you happened to know (him/her). I kid you not. I am sometimes asked such questions.
Pets: There are two feline overlords in our house. We had three, but one walked on last year. We still miss her. Chief, a rescue from the Seminole Reservation, is prototype for the feline character, Eddie Was, in my novels. There is a picture of him on my website: http://www.KBSchaller.com
When I indulge in ice cream, a rare treat, I prefer Vanilla. Hands down. A few nuts on top are a bonus. Hate sprinkles!
Breakfast for me is generally walnuts, preferably black, a vitamin/protein shake and fruit.
I’m a “nighthawk” by nature who cannot work creatively with noise and movement around me. I’ve learned to sleep in.
As far as travel is concerned, I’d love to visit some of the remote Native villages in Alaska. And also travel to Israel.
A favorite quote of mine is from Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
I’ve read many books that I loved. It’s difficult to choose only three: Full Court Quest, and of course, my two novels: Gray Rainbow Journey and Journey by the Sackcloth Moon; If I may add one more, The House on Garibaldi Street is an oldie that has stayed with me over the years.
There are few earthly pleasures greater than a well-written, well-acted drama. A few movies that I remember are The Godfather for its great acting and revelatory storyline; The Great Debaters, I found excellent.Bury My Heart at Wounded Kneeand We Shall Remain brought to the mainstream public the Native American struggle, unembellished and unromanticized. Oops. It’s hard to stop at three.
There is a screenplay based on Gray Rainbow Journey. So far, it’s still an orphan, but here’s how I’d cast my movie: Dina–Sandrine Holt (or an actress of the same type); Uncle Donnie–Graham Greene–hands down; Jack Turner–Wes Studi, hands down; Marty–either of the handsome Spears brothers (Eddie or Michael). Other characters are a toss-up.
My readers could most easily find me in some little Native church. Or huddled over my computer. I’m generally at home and I don’t encourage peeking through my windows:)
My Blog: I guest blog at Christian Post/Bindings. And sometimes I am blessed to be a guest on sites such as yours. Some of my blog links include:
My FB page:
KiKi BelMonte-Schaller. I’m not too big on FB, though.
My books are in both print and on Kindle.
Thank you again for the invitation to be a guest on your blog.
To enter to win a copy of Gray Rainbow Journey–state in 100 words or fewer, why you would like one, based on the synopsis as it appears of KB’s website http://www.KBSchaller.com, post your email address and follow this blog. The winner will then have their “essay” posted on KiKi’s website.