Justice for All
by Paty Jager
This month we are posting about themes in our work or books we like to read. I believe the reason I’m drawn to mystery books is because the murderer or kidnapper or a bad person gets what is coming to them.
All the books I write, whether it is romance or murder mystery, justice is served by the end of the book. I like to highlight the injustices while writing books as well. I think that’s why I wrote diverse characters before it became a thing to do. I might have grown up in a 99.9% white community but I learned about other cultures and ethnicities by reading books and watching television.
I have always been fascinated by how other cultures live, how they talk, and what their beliefs are. I’ve never shut someone out because I believed differently than them or because they looked different than me. I find all of that interesting. I want to learn more about them, but unless we are one on one, my shyness holds me back from digging as deep as I would like.
Injustices have happened to me in my life. Through books, I can right injustices to my characters and catch the bad guy. Or I can highlight the injustices in this world and hope others learn to be more sensitive to those who are different or those who are struggling from the injustices they have endured.
The very first novel I wrote over 30 years ago (that never published) was a mystery and the sidekick was a paraplegic. It was the beginning of the computer age and he found information for my main character via the computer. And the policeman who believed in my main characters knack for finding the truth was Asian.
A lot of my historical westerns have characters of all nationalities as well as Native American characters. In the stories, there is either a bad guy who gets his comeuppance or I showcase an injustice to a specific culture. As in my Spirit Trilogy. It is set among the Chief Joseph band of the Nez Perce who summered and wintered in the county where I grew up. Yet, while I lived there the only time they were spoken of was their yearly trip to participate in Chief Joseph Days. A weekend where the locals had a parade, carnival, and rodeo. The Nez Perce set up their teepees and rode in the parade.
This tribe had been literally run out of NE Oregon in 1877 by the army. They hunted and chased the tribe of mostly women, children, and old people for three months until Chief Joseph finally surrendered. All the Nez Perce wanted to do was stay on the land of their ancestors. But the Whites wanted it for grazing their cattle and sheep. When Chief Joseph surrendered, he asked that they would be allowed to see their land once more. He was told they would, only to be taken to a reservation in Oklahoma for 7 years and then banned from ever setting foot in Wallowa County. He was finally allowed back when they dug up his father’s bones and reburied them at the foot of Wallowa Lake.
About ten years after I left the county, they finally began allowing the Nez Perce back in. They now hold a powwow in Wallowa every July and have bought up land to help preserve the salmon and other wildlife. I’m elated to see them back in the county. It was their homeland before it was any of ours.
But I digressed. My Spirit Trilogy books deal with the love the Chief Joseph band had for the Wallowa country (book 1 Spirit of the Mountain), when the White man arrived in the valley (book 2 Spirit of the Lake), and when they were chased to Montana by the army (book3 Spirit of the Sky). I introduced three spirit siblings who oversaw the Nimiipuu (Nez Perce) for the Creator to help the band prosper. These are categorized as historical paranormal romance. All the Nez Perce culture and how they lived was researched and I had two Nez Perce members who also helped me to make the historical aspects authentic. The spirits, characters, and romance are all my imagination. In the books, I try to show the injustices they have been dealt.
If you read my books, you’ll see that I can’t write unless justice is served in one way or another. It’s just what I have to do. I think it’s because I’m such a shy person that doesn’t like to air my own injustices that I use my writing as a means of healing myself.
If you’re looking for a book that will make you feel justice has been served, check out my books.
Award-winning author Paty Jager and her husband raise alfalfa hay in rural eastern Oregon. On her road to publication she wrote freelance articles for two local newspapers and enjoyed her job with the County Extension service as a 4-H Program Assistant. Raising hay and cattle, riding horses, and battling rattlesnakes, she not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.
All her work has Western or Native American elements in them along with hints of humor and engaging characters. Her penchant for research takes her on side trips that eventually turn into yet another story. Learn more about her at her website.