How long have you been writing?
I can’t remember not having a pencil in my hand. My dad was an artist, so there was always stuff to draw and make books out of around the house. My dad could draw anything, so that was intimidating. I wasn’t as good as he was, obviously, but I liked books and stories. I could create scenes with words in the same way an artist uses a brush.
What did you do before you became an author? What other work do you do?
I teach art at an all girls public school. I love teaching art because it helps me be a better artist and it’s fun to make art with other people. I also like having a hand made life, and art is a part of that. I taught myself basket-weaving, specifically, Cherokee Double Wall baskets. I teach that and other things in our American Indian Education program in the summer.
What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
I like to make up characters and worlds that I enjoy. There aren’t a lot of books out there with people who look like my family, with people like me or my kids in them. So, I have to write them. When I find my work interests other people or they care about what happens to my characters, that makes me feel successful as an author.
What type of book are you writing? What draws you to this category?
This book is historical fiction and I normally only dabble a little in that. This book required a lot of research and advice from Cherokees who know more than I do. Normally, I like to use elements of historical fiction as support for the stuff I like to make up about Cherokee people who also happen to be vampires and werewolves.
What would you like potential readers to know about your book?
This was a hard and sad book to write. The Indian Removal Act didn’t just force the Cherokee out of their homelands. The Creeks, Choctaws, Chickasaws, Seminoles, and other smaller tribes were forced out of the Southeastern United States around this same time. This account is based on documented stories from survivors. Those accounts were even more disturbing than what I could include in this book. I admire my ancestors and am grateful they survived. Cherokees did everything they could do legally and peacefully to remain on their homeland. When they were forced out at gunpoint it was into internment camps that were poorly run. This is where many of them died, before walking the 1000 miles to what would become Indian Territory.
I am a Cherokee, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma. The government has kept track of my people for a very long time. We did not live in teepees. Cherokees held land in common. We stayed in one place, had elected representatives, agriculture, schools, and laws before we were illegally forced off our home lands. We exist today.
There are a few books out there by native authors and about contemporary Indigenous children. We need more. Read those. Native Americans are alive and well. It saddens me when we are talked about as extinct or when all tribes are lumped together.
What are your social media handles?
@AndreaLRogersBooks on Facebook
Share one surprising fact about yourself.
I love to melt glass, mostly for earrings.