Julia has this to say about her writing:
I tried to write Scalp Mountain as a historical novel, meaning a book which helps explain events during a specific time period, and one which embodies themes. Many novels which appear to be Westerns are not; for instance, Tom Lea’s very fine The Wonderful Country.
Texans are not like other Americans and that has to do with their history; particularly the long, barbaric Comanche wars. It shaped the culture. (Read Empire of the Summer Moon, by S.C. Gwynne, to understand this).
This story is about the Indian Wars. I wanted to tell a balanced story and that meant demonstrating that both sides were right, both were wrong and everybody got hurt. The wholesale scalping was the perfect symbol for this. Do you remember the scene where Henry and Colum were riding past “Scalp Mountain,” and Colum told Henry why it was given that name?
Pima caught two Apache and crucified them on the mountain. They used real crosses and tied the Apache to the crosses with green rawhide, then left them to die in the sun. That really happened. I went a step further, to illustrate the book’s theme, by having the Pima decorate the crosses with scalps; white, Indian, Mexican.
Read the full interview at BuddiesInTheSaddle.com
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