• Rosetta Diane Hoessli

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

My name is Rosetta Diane Hoessli, Ronni to my friends, and I'm a writer. I've been a writer for years, but I didn't find a home for my first novel until New Years Day, 2021. Once that news sank in, I couldn't help but think back to how my book, Whispers Through Time, came to be.

One of the most amazing experiences of my life took place in the autumn of 2000, when my husband, Kevin, and I visited the South Dakota Badlands in our motorhome and rode horses with a Lakota Sioux guide during a magnificent thunderstorm. Those churning, swirling, gray-green clouds and razor-slim, straight-down-to-the-earth lightning bolts brought me closer to the fury of God than I ever want to be again. Although the first seed of Whispers Through Time was planted in that moment, I didn't root myself to a chair in front of my computer to actually work until 2017.

South Dakota is a magical place, filled with Old West history and some of the most incredibly beautiful terrain I've ever seen in my life. But I have to admit I never would've suggested to Kevin that we go there if we hadn't seen Dances With Wolves not long before. As we walked out of that theater, I knew I had to see the Badlands, the bison, and the Black Hills for myself. The magnetic pull of South Dakota was like a siren's call; I had no choice.

When we set up camp in a KOA in the Badlands, I met a Sioux artist who came into the office to show the owner something he'd etched in pen and ink on rabbit skin. (Later I discovered the artist's name is Daniel Long Soldier and he's a highly respected artist in South Dakota.) Ordinarily I'm very shy and would never think of interrupting a private conversation like that one, but something about this man and his work grabbed me and I lost any sense of propriety I ever had. I immediately begged him to allow me to buy the piece - even though I think he might've been preparing to give it to his friend. What could he do but sell it to me? Not only did this piece start my American Indian collection of art and pottery, but a historical character in Whispers Through Time popped right into my head, fully developed and ready to go.

(Click on photo for more information)

But the turning point in my life and the experience that fully cemented the story of Whispers Through Time in my brain took place at a lonely ravine on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. It was located near Wounded Knee Creek, not far from a small cemetery that looks down on it from a rolling incline across the road. I'm embarrassed to admit I knew little about the original Massacre at Wounded knee in December 1890 when more than 300 Indian men, women and children were slaughtered by white soldiers, and even less about the Occupation of Wounded Knee in 1973, but that didn't really matter.

I've learned since that you can't visit that isolated piece of ground without feeling somewhere deep in your gut that something truly horrific happened there. As I stood alone, looking across the creek and over the ravine, darkness literally covered the land in front of me. The air suddenly filled with the acrid, eye-stinging odor of smoke and gunpowder. Bullets whizzed past my ears and cannon fire exploded all around me. As I heard blood-curdling shrieks and weeping cutting through the prairie wind, I couldn't understand how it was that I was still alone.

But I was. There wasn't another soul around.

As we meandered through the Wounded Knee Memorial Cemetery, I felt bombarded by characters begging to be heard. It was among the most insane, frightening experiences of my life, yet I knew I had to pay attention - and I did. By nightfall, the premise of Whispers Through Time had been born.

It was to remain in my Idea Notebook for another 17 years.

But all those years weren't wasted. I worked with people on projects I truly enjoyed, took care of my family - and researched Native American history from every vantage point I could think of. I met incredible American Indian people, read books by American Indian writers, watched movies acted in and directed by American Indian actors and directors. As I did, I never forgot that amazing experience beside the Wounded Knee Creek, and I was determined to pass it on in some way that might make a difference to readers who wanted to know more.

I'm sharing this story with you because I hope if you read Whispers Through Time, you'll understand that much of it is not only true, but real. And I hope you'll come to appreciate its possibilities as much as I do.

Please let me know what you think! I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

*Touch base with me on my Facebook Author Page (facebook.com/RosettaDianeAuthor), my Contact Page on this website (https://www.RosettaWrites.net), or follow me on Twitter at @DianeHoessli.

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  • Rosetta Diane Hoessli

One rule I learned in writing class was, Write what you know. It's a rule I seldom follow, but when I'm building characters, I stick to it like glue.

For example, cooking wasn't my forte when I was young. My poor mama tried her best, but my eyes glazed over and my imagination went elsewhere and she was left holding the bag. By the time I got married, I knew how to bake brownies (out of a box) and make spaghetti.

I'm telling you this because in WHISPERS THROUGH TIME, our heroine, Sierra Masters, hates to cook and classifies her kitchen as her least-visited room in the house. She even has a housekeeper-cook (my most elaborate daydream!) to keep her fed. She has a doorbell that no one but her assistant can hear. (So do I.) Our hero, Hunter Davenport, suffers from wanderlust and a need to research to death anything that grabs his attention. (Yeah...even this.)

These are quirks I know well, and I believe building memorable characters always involves using quirks we're familiar with. So, In that way, I write what I know.

Female characters that have stayed with me for years seem to come from old novels - not necessarily classics, but novels written years ago. Scarlett O'Hara, from Gone With the Wind. Just that name conjures up a beautiful, feisty, spoiled, selfish southern belle, doesn't it? Or, Rebecca De Winter, a deceased character in Daphne DuMaurier's amazing novel, Rebecca. She's actually more alive than any other character I can think of, and held me spellbound all the way through. Finally, there's the driven, selfish, secretly insecure Amber St. Clare from the wonderful novel set in 17th century England, Forever Amber.

All these books have had movies based on them, but the books are far more vivid - and the characters, as I saw them while I was reading, aren't like the movies depicted them in the final analysis. To this day, if a character won't come quite clear to me, I dive back into one of those wonderful novels just to study how it's done.

Using quirks became second nature to me when I wrote personality profiles for various magazines and periodicals back in the day. Later, when I collaborated with people to help them tell their stories, I had to discover their 'voice' before I could begin the actual work. By the time I started writing WHISPERS THROUGH TIME, every single character had idiosyncrasies that made them very real to me. I even keep a notebook that I can use to jot down a character quirk when I see one while I'm standing in line, waiting in an office, or just people-watching in a park.

I hope this has helped you a smidgen if you're having trouble with a character, and I'd love to hear your ideas!

*Please touch base with me on my Facebook Author's Page at www.facebook.com/RosettaDianeAuthor, email me at RosettaDiane@RosettaWrites.net, or follow me on Twitter at @DianeHoessli.

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  • Rosetta Diane Hoessli

Updated: Sep 7, 2021

My husband, Kevin, and I were married in 1974 - seven years after we met in high school. As you might remember, the 70's were a pretty wild decade. The Sex, Drugs, and Rock'n'Roll crowd were still doing their thing, violent student demonstrations continued even though the Viet Nam War was finally winding down, women were still burning their bras, and the idea of committing to one person for life seemed pretty obsolete. Kevin's own dad went around his house muttering on the day of our marriage, "I give it five years...I give it five years..."

Had our beautiful baby girl not arrived when she did, my father-in-law might have been right. Kevin and I were crazy as hoot owls back in those days, but our daughter's arrival slammed the brakes on our behavior like nothing else could have. Like most new parents, we were forced to grow up - fast.

That's not to say it was easy. Kevin was a genius mechanic; I couldn't change a lightbulb. I loved to read and write; he looked at the pictures in Playboy. I had one of the most severe cases of wanderlust known to man; Kevin had only left Texas once in his entire life. In other words, we had absolutely nothing in common.

But we had chemistry, commitment, and constancy in our marriage. He was in my corner and I was in his. Our daughter was a Daddy's Girl, but I encouraged that because I understood the importance of her having a strong male role model in her life. When we lost a child early in pregnancy, our grief brought us together and we grew stronger. When a particularly horrendous traumatic experience rocked our family, we faced it head-on and completely readjusted our priorities.

Now, forty-seven years and two grandchildren later, instead of wondering how we're ever going to make it, we're praying that God continue to bless our family - and give us another forty-seven years! Over those years we've learned we had more in common than we ever dreamed of when we started out - because we built it ourselves. We love to plot my books together. We love to travel the southwest in an RV. We love to fish at night and play on our boat during the day. We watch old westerns together, enjoy our dogs, plan our trips, and visit our family.

Now we're an old married couple, and the love I feel for this man is indescribable. I base my hero-characters on him, and try to build my love stories around what I know to be true because of his love for me. The life we've created together has been more blessed than either of us ever dreamed possible.

And I couldn't be more grateful.

*Touch base with me on my Facebook Author Page (facebook.com/RosettaDianeAuthor), my Contact Page on this website (https://www.RosettaWrites.net), or follow me on Twitter at @DianeHoessli.