by Nancy Schoellkopf
When Mariah Easter encounters a large hawk in her urban midtown neighborhood, her father Charlie is concerned. He can see a wild and mystical path opening before his daughter, a path he himself would never be able to resist. The hawk soon reappears: engraved with its twin on a golden thimble that has been an Easter family heirloom for generations. After the thimble is stolen at a funeral reception, Mariah and her mother Samantha set off on a road trip to find it, a journey that will bring healing to the grieving family and change Mariah's life forever.
Red-tailed Hawk is a coming of age story, the tale of a young woman's quest to discover the source of her own longing and to understand the mystical legacy of her family.
Q. Where do you get inspiration for your stories?
A. I was prompted to write Red-Tailed Hawk when I had an encounter with a large hawk in the middle of my urban neighborhood one quiet morning a few years ago. The hawk peered down and made eye contact, just as Mariah’s hawk does with her. It took a lot of writing to equal the power of that moment for me.
I’m also frequently inspired by old legends and fairy tales. Red-Tailed Hawk was heavily influenced by East of the Sun, West of the Moon, a favorite of mine since childhood. In this ancient story, a peasant girl travels the four directions and meets wise and helpful people. They give her magical items that she uses to rescue her beloved from the castle of the trolls.
Q. What genre do you write?
A. It’s hard for me to confine my stories to one genre! Generally I write about a woman on a spiritual path, seeking her place in the world both personally and professionally. For promotional purposes I often label them as magical realism since my characters’ adventures and insights may cross into the paranormal at times.
Q. If you were stuck on a desert island, what three books would you want with you?
A. 1. Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes is filled with beautifully-told tales I could read over and over again.
2.The Blind Assassin is a complex, genre-bending story by one of my favorite authors, Margaret Atwood.
3. In God’s Womb, a spiritual memoir by Edwina Gateley, is an amazing example of surrendering to Divine guidance.
These three books should take me through the first week!
A. For thirty-something yearsI worked inspecial education with children who have severe disabilities. It was a joyful way to spend a career, and a source of many stories.
Q. If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?
A. My greatest hope is that my stories will touch your heart.
Nancy Schoellkopf is the author of Yellow-billed Magpie, the first in her Easter Family series. Nancy has been telling stories and writing poems for many lifetimes. It goes without saying that she'd need a second income, so this time around she has happily taught amazing children in special education classes in two urban school districts in Sacramento, California. A full time writer now, she enjoys lavishing attention on her cats, her garden, and her intriguing circle of family and friends.