Please welcome back author Kaye George who is on a roll with new releases…..
Triple Trouble: Neanderthals added to Fat Cats and Musicians
I’m back. Already, you say? I just posted here that I had two released a week apart. That wasn’t the end of it, though. Two months after those, I have another release, DEATH ON THE TREK, June 13th. I would, of course, love for you to buy it and read it. But first I’d like to talk about research for these prehistory books.
The mysteries center on a Neanderthal tribe that I have, with poetic license, transported to what is now USA, North America. Neanderthals have been found in many parts of Europe and Asia. In fact, their remains keep being discovered farther and farther east. I’ll be just as astounded as anyone else if their fossils ever turn up on this continent, but I’ll also be overjoyed. (I located them here because I want to include the fantastic mega-fauna of that time and place.)
What do we know about Neanderthals? More and more, especially since mapping the complete genome. We know that at least two individuals were red headed and pale skinned, one from El Sidron in Spain and one from Monte Lessini in Italy.(1) That information has been available since 2007. We also know that they interbred with the other peoples in Europe, since there is evidence of that in the genes of everyone with European ancestry. I, myself, am 2.9% Neanderthal. We also know that they were physically capable of speech.(2) However, when I began writing the first book, DEATH IN THE TIME OF ICE, one of the textbooks I bought stated that most scientists agreed there was no cross-mating, and that they were incapable of speaking.
Here’s what I did with these pieces of research. They represent a small fraction of my studies. I made some members of the Hamapa tribe blond, some redheaded, and some brunette. I put in isolated instances of inter-mating with Cro-Magnons. I took the middle ground with speech. I gave them speech (after tons of research on how babies and disabled people learn to speak, as well as on early, primitive languages), but reserved it for ceremonial occasions. Yes, I even made up their language. I learned that sounds at the front of the mouth are easier to say, so most of their names and words are spoken there. No gutturals, no difficult consonant blends, and mostly short words.
So, if they rarely spoke, how did they communicate? For that, I studied the Australian aborigines and some others, and gave my tribe telepathy.
The great thing about writing events that took place 35,000 years ago is that no one is going to prove me wrong about anything. They can speculate and theorize, but in the areas where I took liberties, such as making the tribe matriarchal and letting the women throw spears (for that matter, letting anyone throw them, since some people think they couldn’t have done that), I’m free to do my own theorizing.
I will say that I stick to all the facts that I know (except that they were in North America). The way they built houses and villages is documented, and some of their art, jewelry, tools, and musical instruments. (OK, one instrument, a flute.) It’s just that we don’t know nearly everything about Neanderthals. Sometimes I do worry that a new discovery will directly contradict something I wrote, but it hasn’t happened yet!
Here’s a bit about the new book:
The Neanderthal tribe of Enga Dancing Flower must trek south to flee the approaching glacier, but the distance is long and the food is scarce. When a venerable elder drowns crossing a flooded river, Enga suspects that it was not an accident, and that a murderer travels with them.
An excerpt is posted at the publisher’s site: http://store.untreedreads.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=6_158&products_id=1874
This book is available at Ingram and other booksellers and is published in paperback, hardcover, and digital. Audio is coming!
(1) Smithsonian: http://humanorigins.si.edu/evidence/genetics/ancient-dna-and-neanderthals/neanderthal-genes-red-hair-and-more
(2) Neanderthals, an archaic human species that dominated Europe until the arrival of
modern humans some 45,000 years ago, possessed a critical gene known to
underlie speech, according to DNA evidence retrieved from two individuals
excavated from El Sidron, a cave in northern Spain.
—The New York Times, Neanderthals Had Important Speech Gene, DNA
Evidence Shows, by Nicholas Wade, October 19, 2007
Kaye George ©2016
Kaye George, national-bestselling and multiple-award-winning author, writes several mystery series: Imogene Duckworthy, Cressa Carraway (Barking Rain Press), People of the Wind (Untreed Reads), and, as Janet Cantrell, the Fat Cat cozy mysteries. (Berkley Prime Crime). Her short stories appear in anthologies, magazines, and her own collection, A Patchwork of Stories. She reviews for Suspense Magazine. She lives in Knoxville, TN. http://kayegeorge.com/