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Home > Author > Barbara Marshak
 
Barbara Marshak

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Member Since: May, 2007

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  Barbara Marshak

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Writing has opened doors in ways I never could have imagined...and I'm loving the journey!


Background Information

My writing journey began in a most unexpected way, what some might call a chance encounter. On a family vacation in the Black Hills of South Dakota one summer we happened upon a Native American band playing in the tourist town of Deadwood. The music from Brulé, a small, upcoming band of three, was as captivating as the surrounding landscape. Their distinct sound initially caught my attention—the hauntingly beautiful mix of flute, keyboard, and traditional drum they are now famous for. Listening one could immediately sense something deeper at the heart of it. Sure enough, in reading about Paul LaRoche, the band’s founder, I found his life story equally captivating.
All the way back to Minneapolis I heard a voice, You should write a book about this man…
But before I reached home a flurry of doubts drowned out the voice, telling me I had no connection to Paul LaRoche, a complete stranger. I wasn’t Native American or adopted, and furthermore I didn’t have any writing credentials. The loudest doubt pushed through time and time again: You’re not a real writer; you’ve never even been published! Yet each time I listed to Paul’s unique music, the voice returned.

Three years passed before I dispelled the doubts and found the courage to respond…and as soon as I did, an amazing journey began. First came an article about Paul, published in a regional magazine. Next came the book, a project that took three years to complete. Hidden Heritage: The Story of Paul LaRoche was released in 2006. That summer Paul invited me to join him at several Brulé events. None was more moving than at Mount Rushmore National Monument. I stood on the park’s plaza, the majestic granite monument in the backdrop, the beautiful Brulé music playing in the mountain air, signing books alongside Paul. It was a moment I never could have imagined seven years earlier on Main Street Deadwood. I had only a few moments to listen as Paul played. We didn’t even speak. Yet God intertwined our otherwise separate lives and gave us a connected purpose, a purpose that didn’t end there.

While writing Hidden Heritage I discovered Paul’s great-great-great grandfather, a Yankton chief named Strikes the Ree (1804-1888), was an important figure in American history. In 1804 Lewis and Clark were camped at Calumet Bluff when word came that a baby had just been born. The famed explorers wrapped the infant in a flag and declared that he would someday be a great American citizen. Their prophecy indeed came true. Strikes the Ree was a great leader among his people and played a significant role as a peacemaker during the Great Sioux Uprising. During his life he traveled to Washington DC and received peace medals from three US presidents.
Long after I finished Paul’s book, Strike the Ree’s story called out to me time and time again. Worthy of an epic tale, I’ve since learned the great burdens the chief bore during the years of cession and settlement on the Northern Plains have largely been overlooked by historians. A few weeks ago I read a post from author/speaker Page Lambert titled “Write Brave, Write Epic”. Her words challenged me: Be brave. Write the BIG story. Be fearless in your belief that yes, we can set aside our smallness and our frailties and reach for that deeper part of ourselves that knows there are GREAT TRUTHS in this world, and it is these truths about which we must write.

I believe the Hidden Heritage journey has led to this important, historical book. God has equipped me—through all that’s happened since I stood on that crowded sidewalk in Deadwood thirteen years ago—to write this epic novel and I can move forward with confidence. Chance encounter? Hardly. Every step declares it is God’s divine plan, a journey that is far from over.
March 8, 2012


Birth Place
Wadena, MN USA
Accomplishments

Barbara Marshak is the author of two nonfiction books, Michigan and Rookie: Guardians of the Night, the remarkable story of a cop and his K9 partner, and Hidden Heritage: The Story of Paul LaRoche, the inspiring biography of the Native American recording artist, Brulé. Hidden Heritage earned Finalist in the Biography category of the National Indie Excellence Awards (2007), and the USA Best Book Awards (2006). Barbara also co-writes for Hidden Heritage, a documentary-style television series based on the book. In 2010 two of her short stories were selected for publication: Prairie Promises (first place) in a regional literary journal, and Lost Letters (finalist) in a western anthology. Barbara’s writing portfolio includes over 150 published stories and articles. She is a regular presenter at writers’ events and is currently seeking agent representation for her first novel, Seeds of Salton.

Additional Information

Barbara Marshak’s newest release is Michigan and Rookie: Guardians of the Night, the inspiring story of K9 Officer Joaquin Guerrero and his German shepherd partner, Rookie. It’s been said there is no bond greater than between a K9 handler and his partner. Michigan and Rookie shares Rookie’s unwavering service at Ground Zero and his impact with thousands of school kids across Mid-Michigan. Told in the POV of this K9 hero and his partner, the book shines a light on the life of a working police dog. Barbara Marshak is also the author of Hidden Heritage: The Story of Paul LaRoche, the inspiring biography of the Native American recording artist, Brulé. Hidden Heritage earned Finalist in the Biography category of the National Indie Excellence Awards (2007), and the USA Best Book Awards (2006). Barbara also co-writes for Hidden Heritage, a documentary-style television series based on the book and hosted by Paul LaRoche on RFD-TV. Barbara’s writing portfolio includes over 150 published pieces, and in 2010 two of her short stories were selected for publication: Prairie Promises (first place) in a regional literary journal, and Lost Letters (finalist) in a western anthology. In 2008 Barbara won the Bearlodge Writers Residence at the Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming. Barbara resides in Minnesota with her husband and family. Also a dog lover, Barbara is often assisted in her writing studio with Duke and Daisy, a mother-son pair of rescued yellow labs. Blinded years earlier, Daisy relies on Duke to serve as her seeing-eye dog. Their daily antics and unique bond are providing plentiful material for her, perhaps for another book.

Contact Information

18469 Jaeger Path 
Lakeville MN 55044   USA
Contact Author: Barbara Marshak
Favorite Links

Barbara Marshak
Author's webpage

Brule'
Website and tour info for Native American musician Paul LaRoche, also known as Brule'






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