Author event: Eileen Charbonneau
BELLOWS FALLS — Author of "I'll Be Seeing You," Eileen Charbonneau, will be speaking at Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls on Saturday, Sept 9, at 11 a.m.. Call 802-463-9404 for book and event reservations.
Eileen Charbonneau is an award-winning author of nine published novels, short stories, and non-fiction. Her work has received the Golden Medallion, Hearts of the West, Andre Norton and Phyllis A. Whitney awards. "I'll Be Seeing You" is an historical romantic suspense novel series "The Code Talker Chronicles" from BWL Publishing. Luke Kayenta and his childhood friend Nantai Riggs are young shepherds of the Navajo reservation in Arizona. They volunteer for an experiment: to come up with an uncrackable code based on the Navajo language to be used by the US as it enters World War II. They fly into New York to join the spy agency the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). While on the airfield, Kayenta catches sight of a young woman. He is first enchanted, then heartsick when he finds that Kitty Charante is the wife of his Canadian RAF pilot and instructor in espionage. Later in the mountains between Spain and Nazi-occupied France, Kayenta and Riggs practice the code between radio stations while helping on missions.
Charbonneau's World War II set novels follow O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services, precursor to the C.I.A.) operative and former Navajo sheepherder Luke Kayenta as he helps to develop the Navajo Code. The code was used and never broken by the Axis powers throughout the war. It could only be created among speakers who were fluent in both Navajo and English,and proved so successful that the Code Talkers were asked to keep their contribution tho the war effort a secret in case it needed to be used again. It was finally de-classified in 1968.
Charbonneau, who counts among her relatives three members of the historic Lewis and Clark Expedition, is drawn to the untold tale. Her previous novels have centered around the Choctaw Nation's contributions to Irish Famine relief in the 1840s (Rachel LeMoyne), early efforts at conservation in California's national parks (Waltzing in Ragtime), and abolition efforts in Federal Era Virginia (The Randolph Legacy). "Fiction can fill-in and illuminate gaps and seldom-seen points of view in our historical record," Charbonneau believes. "In the context of a good galloping story, it can show us who we are as a people." For the Code Talker Chronicles, Charbonneau has also delved into family history. Navaho Kayenta's love interest is fellow O.S.S. operative and New York City born and bred Charante, a character based in the life of her 98 year old mother. "My parents were great story tellers of their time before I was born," Charbonneau says, "I'm glad I was paying attention!"
Future events at the bookstore include Friday, Sept 22, at 7 p.m., Erik Rickstad, Vermont author of "Names of Dead Girls" and Friday Oct 20 at 7 p.m., Archer Mayor, Newfane author of "Trace."
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