Message From The Author

Author's Message

On the Frontier With Pamela Clare

This story isn't a sad story about two victims—it's a
triumphant story about two survivors who find love
and passion despite everything that's happened to them,"
says Pamela Clare of her third book set during America's
colonial period, Ride the Fire (Mar., Leisure).

Clare's characters certainly do ride the fire: Bethie was
sexually abused by her stepbrother, disowned by her mother, married off to a much older man and then widowed on the
colonial frontier. She's pregnant when the wounded Nicholas
stumbles across her cabin. Captured and tortured by the Huron, Nicholas watched as two soldiers he tried to save were
burned alive. When the pair learns that they are in danger
on the frontier, they head to "safety" at Fort Pitt (near present-day Pittsburgh)—just in time for the bloody siege of 1763.

Clare, who majored in classical archaeology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, trained her research skills on the colonial period of American history, "where the character of our country was formed." While trying to locate a map of Fort Pitt, she came across the Fort Pitt Museum and local researcher Doug McGregor, who photocopied soldiers' diaries and other primary sources from the time of the siege for her.

"I folded details from the diaries and other materials into the story, putting Nicholas in the thick of things," she says. She also used 17th-century firsthand accounts by Catholic priests of the Huron's "nasty habit of torturing people by fire."

Clare used another firsthand source for Ride the Fire—her own experience. "Writers work from the well of emotions inside them, and unfortunately sexual assault is part of my past," she says. "Drawing from that emotional well, it was inevitable that I would create a heroine who was a victim of this terrible crime."

Adding that her book is dedicated to victims of sexual assault, Clare concludes, "After I finished the story, I realized I had given Bethie and Nicholas both a sort of fantasy rebirth and ultimate healing through each other that most rape victims don't get.

I suppose doing
that was healing in some way for me,
as well."—Liz French


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