In the first novel of The Lady Trilogy, auburn-haired beauty Leigh West travels to Alaska’s majestic and mysterious Tongass National Forest in search of self-discovery and harmony with nature. In her journal, she chronicles all she learns from native Tlingit tribesmen, the cunning wolves and beligerent brown bears, and the transforming seasons of the region’s glorious landscape. It is through Native American spirituality that she sparks new passion within herself, a new appreciation for the physical world, and a life filled with love.
It has been an extremely rewarding endeavor writing Courageous Lady, a story of Leigh West’s adventures in Alaska. Its penning served as a release, a purge, of the memory of a love lost and finding a new consciousness, a restored life. As a result of this cleansing there is a personal bias interwoven in the design of the story.
Native Americans tell many stories about the relationship between animals and human beings; these stories appear in various tribes and languages throughout the north. The versions that I expressed may differ from others collected by scholars and folklorists. The seed that became a secondary story of animals interacting with humans has been a combination of many traditional stories involving ravens, owls, wolves, and yes, even a mouse. Many are coastal stories from Southeastern Alaska and the others come from the northern interior. This novel is not meant to displace or contradict any of the scholarly work that has been done by authors preceding my efforts. However, rest assured, characters and events of the episodes are products of my imagination. Captivating Alaska, of course, remains very real.
The cities of Juneau, Skagway, Haines, the Leland Canal, and majestic Tongass National Forest are easily found on the map. The proud and distinguished Tlingit Tribe around which much of the story line revolves is present in Southeastern Alaska as are their neighbors, the Haida, and Tsimshian Tribes. Native American Beliefs in the Natural World and its Creator, their God, “the hero with a thousand faces,” strengthens their commitment to preserve Mother Earth and Father Sky, as the backbone of tribal unions to hold off white man’s intrusion to their land, and its “taking” policies. The landscape in and around Leigh’s hut on the meadow and the Tlingit Settlements are fictional.