The baby in the picture is my great grandmother Ella "Tootsie" Rhoan.

The baby in the picture is my great grandmother Ella "Tootsie" Rhoan.

Native Pride

My newest Harlequin Romantic Suspense series, Native Country, which hits stores July and August, has special meaning to me. My maternal ancestors hail directly from Yosemite National Park and many photos in the museum feature members of my family. It's a special honor to share Native blood and I'm overjoyed to finally tap into that resource with this new series. Although this series is set on the Hoh reservation in Washington state, the pride those feel with share Native American ancestry remains the same. I am continually amazed by those who have integrated their culture into their daily lives so that their Native voices are not lost.

I dedicated this series to my great grandmother Ella and my maternal grandfather Orval. My great grandmother was an amazing woman, tough enough to raise more than 10 children and countless grandchildren, and yet patient enough to try and teach a reluctant girl their Native language. I regret not embracing my culture at such an early age.

My grandfather Orval is a special human being, who throughout my life, has been a constant source of wisdom and kindness, not to mention hilarity, as he has a corny sense of humor that never failed to make me laugh or at the very least, smile. I've been blessed in my family, without a doubt.

I wanted to bring a sense of family and fierce loyalty to this series and I hope I achieved that goal. Readers will have to let me know.

I just returned from RWA National in New York and although I didn't win in the RITA category I was nominated (category series adventure/suspense) I had a wonderful time and I can't wait for next year in Anaheim. Of course, one of the perks of RWA conference is the copious amount of free books that you come home with! So in the spirit of generosity, and to celebrate the release of my new series, I want to give away free books, too!

To one lucky poster, I will give away a set of my Native Country series. All you have to do is leave a comment on my blog and at the end of the week, I'll draw a winner. To get the conversation started, tell me, how do you celebrate your heritage? Where do your ancestors hail? Let's share!

Looking forward to your posts!


Kimberly Van Meter


19 Responses to “”

  1. Karen Harbur says:

    Hi, I’m German and Irish, being a redhead I tend to follow my Irish roots more. My hubby and I have been together for 30 years and every so often he buys me a piece of Claddagh jewelry. A Claddagh is an Irish symbol for Love, Loyalty and friendship. These 3 things are what I think have keep us together for so long. Thanks for the great blog and chance to get to know each other.

  2. Donya Pedigo says:

    I am 1/16 native american, though my sister looks more like it than myself. I tend to take more after my father who has a spanish background. I have just recently been trying to find out more about my background by tracing my family tree. There is no telling where I will end up by the time I am done.

  3. kimwrites says:

    Karen: How wonderful, 30 years together. What an accomplishment. I am also Irish, my maternal grandmother’s (who married her Indian boy back in the day) maiden name was Fitzpatrick. I love having both worlds in my background. And thank you for posting on my blog!

    Donya: One of these day I would love to do my family tree. Good luck with your search! I hope you find many interesting characters in your lineage!


  4. Snookie Mello says:

    Aloha Kim,

    My cultural heritage is a blend. My grandparents (paternal and maternal) all were raised in plantation camps in Hawai’i. we have many traditions in my family that are Portuguese, Japanese. Chinese and Hawaiian. We have about 8 to 10 generations of geneolgical information for most of my family.

  5. Snookie,

    How wonderful that you have such deep connections and you know your roots. Many people are so disconnected from where they came. I think that’s why genealogy has become so popular. We all yearn to feel that connection again.

    Thanks for posting and sharing!


  6. Alexa Bourne says:

    My mom & grandparents came from England when my mom was 16. My grandparents have passed on, but my mom and I are still very close to our English relatives and I go back as often as I can. I celebrate British holidays and share stories of British history and my family with my students (I’m a teacher by day).

    I actually tried my hand at writing a short contemporary story that honored my British heritage (grandmother’s family from Scotland, grandfather’s from Ireland). LOL, the story wasn’t very good, although writing it did help make me a better writer. So now, I’m back to my favorite manuscripts- romantic suspense- and I’ve decided to take some cultural elements of that short contemp and use them in my new manuscript.

  7. MarcieR says:

    Unfortunately no heritage passed down from generation to generation. I know I have Irish blood in me – my maternal grandmother’s name was Sarah McCreary – you even have to say it with the Irish lilt. She passed before I was born tho.
    And may be a reason the only place out of the US I would love to visit is Ireland.

  8. Sara E. Parrish says:

    Kim, So proud of all that you have done and I know your great grandmother would be also….as I know your Mom is. Just wanted to let you know I think you are phenomenal! You are living the American Dream and you have done this yourself. Don’t need the books just wanted to let you know I think you are great. (I am Scottish on both sides with several others thrown in for a blend.) And next year make Anaheim yours!

  9. Alexa: Wow, from across the Pond! Very cool. You know, all roads lead to your destination. So even if you didn’t think the writing was up to snuff, it wasn’t wasted work. I recently pulled some of my older short stories and had a blast reading them. Some of it was better than I remembered, and then again, some wasn’t great but I could easily see which parts needed work, so I’d truly grown as a writer. Practice makes perfect, right? :-) Thanks for posting!

    Marcie: Count me in for a trip to Ireland, too! I dream of visiting someday. And who knows? Maybe if you managed to trace your tree, you’d be surprised by who was hiding in the branches. ;-)

    Sara: Thank you! That’s very sweet of you to say. I appreciate your heartfelt words. It always means so much to me to hear how I’ve made a good impression on others. :-)

  10. Amanda Gardner says:

    I don’t really celebrate my heritage that much.

    I have my father’s side of the family ancestry traced all the way back to Charlemagne(Holy Roman Emperor)with English, Irish and German showing up along the way. I have family that came over on the Mayflower.

  11. Theresa N says:

    Like most Americans my heritage is a mix of many, my own being Choctaw Indian, Scottish, Irish, and English. I have to say we’re very American in our celebrations, holidays and birthdays with nothing unusual. It would be wonderful to say I could speak more than one language, but I only know a word here and there.

  12. Amanda: Still amazing! Ancestry that traces all the way to Charlemagne! How cool!

    Theresa: I can’t speak much more than a bit of scattered French but I wish I’d paid more attention to my great grandmother when she’d tried to teach me our Native language. Alas, I was a kid more interested in anything but my heritage. Live and learn!

    Thanks for posting and sharing!


  13. Jackie Wisherd says:

    We don’t really celebrate our ancestors came from Germany and Scotland..we tend to celebrate more where we came from statewise. My family is from the great states of Colorado and Kansas. They were farmers and loved the land.

  14. JOYE says:

    Great article. I really don’t know where my ancestors were from-a mixture I am sure. My father had a bit of Dutch in him and I think my mother’s folks were from England. No matter what, I consider my self an Ameerican first and foremost and I observed a big celebration yesterday.

  15. Jackie: Without farmers we’d all starve! Thank goodness for those with green thumbs. I’m certainly grateful. I tend to kill everything I try to grow. So, yes, farmers very important!

    Joye: Yes! America the beautiful. The great melting pot. That’s what makes us special. We’re a wonderful blend.


  16. Ami W. says:

    Hi Kim!

    We can trace one line straight back to William Bradford, from the Mayflower. Other lines are more murky, since I’m German and Swedish too but I find it fascinating to try and follow them back. You never know what you’ll find. I guess it goes with being a writer–always wondering about the people and their stories!

  17. Shannon C says:

    Hello Kim!

    I am really proud of all the work and success you’ve had!

    My heritage is traced back to Cherokee, Choctaw, Irish, Scottish, German, and British. I celebrate my Irish the most. One of my great, great grandmothers was on the Trail of Tears. My boyfriend is a lot of Irish and his maternal side immigrated from Ireland to work on the Pennsylvania railroad. He is the first of five generations to get a college degree in something different and not work on the railroad! Very interesting stuff. I am glad you have written about something extra close to your heart!

    Keep it up!!

  18. Thank you Shannon! What a wonderful, diverse background you have as well!


  19. According to the random number generator, AMANDA GARDNER is the lucky poster who has won a full set of my Native Country series!! Woohoo! Throw the confetti!!

    Amanda, please email me your mailing address so I can get these to you right away!

    Thank you to everyone who posted and shared!