Eventually I got off the floor and got the library to dig up the magazine for me. Reading again about Boone's life grabbed me hard; poking around further, I was startled to realize nobody had written the novel I suddenly wanted to write. I couldn't believe my luck. There's plenty about Boone out there, of course, and has been since his own lifetime--and there's The Last of the Mohicans in print and on film, plus the 1960s TV show. I wanted to fill in the gaps with my imagined version of him. From inside.
It took me several years, and several complete drafts. I had the voice wrong--it had to be first person, which I fought. I had to let go of some of the spare historical record. I had to use myself as well as trying to conjure up a dead man--my children ended up in the novel (screaming). But now I hear his voice all the time.