A friend asked me what it was like to write about Daniel's interactions with the Native American and black characters in my book. It was, in a word, hard. The difficulty came in the book's perspective, which is Daniel's--the son of British Quaker settlers. Everything comes through his eyes, and has to be painted as would have seemed natural to him, which is not always natural to a contemporary audience. So there are certainly racist moments in the story (I'm thinking of an incident when Dan and his brother laugh about the white names some of the Cherokees call themselves, for instance).
However, the historical Boone seems to have been more sympathetic than many whites were towards the native woodland people. He grew up with Delaware and Catawba people nearby, and was very familiar with their way of life. As an adult, he was sometimes called a "white Indian" for his loose hunting clothing and moccasins, and his enjoyment of nomadic long hunts. There are quite a few accounts, such as those of Simon Girty, another "white Indian," of Europeans abandoning their lives and joining tribes. Girty and Dan crossed paths, and I was sorry to have to leave him on the cutting-room floor in the end.
Daniel was captured and adopted by Shawnee people, and seems to have found much to prefer about life in their winter town, as my story depicts. His relationship with Black Fish, his adoptive father, became for me a symbol of the power struggles, tensions, and attempts at connection between the two civilizations.
My book also includes several black characters who are slaves (yes, some Quakers owned them). The party that sets out to settle Kentucky includes quite a few of them. Pompey, an escaped Virginia man who is also adopted by the Shawnee, drew me the most sharply. He was an actual interpreter and apparently a powerful, disturbing personality, sometimes referred to as "the black Shawnee." For my book, he serves as a shock wave, always reminding Dan that life will never be neat and easy for everyone. I'm looking forward to having him back for the sequel.
I'm the author of My Name is a Knife, All True Not a Lie In It, and The Old Familiar.