SIX NATIONS – Sara General has been busy making a name for herself within the talented group of writers and authors of Six Nations and recently launched her newest book Spirit & Intent: a collection of short stories.
General was joined by Elizabeth “Betts” Doxtater, another Six Nations author and business owner at the launch held on November 25 at the Woodland Cultural Centre. Doxtater also released a new book titled Art of Peace.
“This book explores the importance of peace, the rights and responsibilities of Indigenous women, treaties and reflections on the responsibilities that accompany treaty rights, as well as the importance of decolonization in healing and reconciliation,” said General. “In particular, I found myself doing a lot of writing and reflecting on the clan mother title, Jikonsaseh.”
General said she began writing the book in 2014 and her sister, Alyssa M. General, was the illustrator.
“I started writing this book in 2014 and finished writing it at the start of 2015. Then I spent the majority of 2015 really learning about the publishing industry and how to go about managing the production of books as well as their distribution to online stores. Then of course, we released it this year and launched it alongside [Betts’ book] Art of Peace.”
Earlier in 2016 General launched a production company with her Alyssa called “Spirit & Intent”. The purpose of that company was to use the tools available to writers and artists today to be able to tell stories that don’t always get a lot of attention from mainstream publishers.
“The company was something I had been thinking about for many, many years,” said General. “This book was the first one that the company officially created and it gave us our first sense of how the collaboration might work because I wrote the stories and my sister illustrated them. Needless to say, we were really happy with how it turned out.”
Every author comes across their own challenges and setbacks while researching and writing a book. For General her challenges were mostly internal.
“One challenge that I have faced every time I write something is a kind of self-doubt,” she said. “I can start questioning the work I am doing. What helps me overcome that is a love for stories and a love for my community. I love our people and our stories and I wish I had heard and seen more of them reflected in the books I was reading when I was growing up. It’s something that I want for my own children.”
Mostly all of General’s published works have a fantastical element to them, so General has been influenced by writers like Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss, but she prefers to stay true to her own writing styles and personality.
“I think the more I write the truer my writing style becomes to my own voice. I am more comfortable writing the kind of stories I want to read. And so that’s probably become the biggest influence on my writing now — writing things I wish had existed and really having fun with those ideas.”
Currently General is working on finishing her series titled the Vampire Skeleton series and is about to launch a new Young Adult fantasy series.
“The first book in the new series is called, The Fortune Teller’s Daughter. It’s about a young Haudenosaunee girl who is yanked out of her everyday life when her mother goes missing and she suddenly acquires the power of lightning. She has to figure out how to navigate that power, save her mother and decide whether or not she is going to join this larger battle between good and evil.”
She said it’s a story she has been writing for many years and is really excited to finally be at the point of releasing it.
More information on General’s books, current projects, blog and more can be found at her website www.sarageneral.com.