Why I Write Native American and Southern Fiction

I’m often asked why I write Southern and/or Native American fiction.

The truthful answer is—I don’t know. I’ve just always (we’re talking my earliest memories as a preschooler) had this interest in Native American cultures.

Perhaps it began with the arrowhead collection my tobacco farming grandfather amassed from plowing the fields in Eastern NC. Or, that unfortunate incident at Tweetsie Railroad (a Wild West NC mountain amusement park) that involved a train robbery and Indian attack on my highly impressionable mind when I was three year’s old. But that’s a story for another day.

I’m lucky to live in North Carolina because North Carolina is home to the largest population of Native Americans east of the Mississippi. I’ve known various members of the Cherokee, Lumbee, Haliwa-Saponi and Coharie tribes throughout my life—childhood, teen years, college and as an adult in professional and personal capacities. I’ve always been fascinated by their culture. Admired their persistence and perserverance against overwhelming odds to survive and thrive. Television has reduced Americans to a mind-numbing blandness. Southerners—and Native Americans—do not fit into that cookie cutter mold. And I love that. We are unique and proud of it.

So when my in-laws retired to Colorado, not far from the Four Corners region, guess where I wanted to go? Yep. The Navajo Reservation; the Ute History Museum, etc . . . You get the picture. And yes, my family (read teenaged children) make fun of me early and often.

Here is a map of the North Carolina tribes—future story ideas? Well, you never know . . .



For more photos from Vines of Entanglement and on the Lumbee, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.


Southern Iced Peach Tea #Recipe from #VinesofEntanglement


One of my favorite iced peach tea brands

peach tea1

I like this brand, too.







Laura Mabry’s simply perfect refreshment for hot Southern afternoons.

Brew 6 tea bags in coffeemaker or pot. Pour into gallon pitcher with 1 cup of sugar or to taste. It is important to pour the peach tea into the pitcher with sugar while the tea is still-hot. This is the secret to perfect Southern sweet tea every time.

Fill your pitcher or glass with ice. Garnish with peach slices. Enjoy.

For more recipes and photos from Vines of Entanglement, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.

Southern Pimiento Cheese Sandwich #Recipe from #VinesofEntanglement

pimcheeseEvery well-stocked Southern kitchen will have pimiento cheese on hand in case someone drops by for lunch. Here is a basic recipe—most Southerners have their own personal embellishments.


This is my easy to clean rotary grater I got from Target.


1 1/2 cups mayonnaise (I eyeball this measurement, not exact)
1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
1 (8-oz.) block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded


1. Mash/mince drained pimiento. Stir together ingredients in a large bowl; stir in cheese.

2. My Aunt Grace sprinkles in sugar, but then Down East people put sugar in everything.

3. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week. My children believe this tastes best on Aunt Grace’s white bread versus the wheat bread I force them to consume at our house. You be the judge.


This is the cheese grater my aunt brought back from France in the 1950s. My children believe the pimiento cheese is better grated in hers.

4. Invite some friends over for an impromptu lunch. Enjoy.

For more recipes and photos from Vines of Entanglement, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.

Behind the Scenes of #VinesofEntanglement—The Greenway


The Greenway

What exactly is the Raleigh Greenway where Laura discovers her murdered employee?


The attack on the bridge


The natural beauty of Crabtree Creek

The Greenway is a “network of public open spaces and recreational trails which provides for activities such as walking, jogging, hiking, bird watching, nature study, fishing, picnicking and outdoor fun. A major goal of the Greenway Program is to establish a completed network of interconnected trails throughout the city.” http://www.raleighnc.gov/parks/content/PRecDesignDevelop/Articles/CapitalAreaGreenwayTrailSystem.html

I love this abandoned and very atmospheric bridge just off the Greenway system—


For more photos from Vines of Entanglement, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.

Southern Crock Pot Barbeque from #VinesofEntanglement

crockpotbbqbbq Yes, I’m talking about pulled pork. Because I’m from North Carolina, not Texas.


Here is Claire’s Simmer-from-the-Pew Pulled Pork Slow Cooker Recipe

  • 1 fresh pork shoulder, 5 to 7 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • Dash of hot sauce

Place pork in slow cooker. Sprinkle salt and pepper over pork shoulder and add vinegar. Cover and cook on low 9 hours. Pick meat from bones. Strain liquid, discard excess fat, and keep approximately 2 cups. Add remaining ingredients. Mix with minced meat and return to crock pot. Cover and cook on low for more 1 hour. Freezes well. Enjoy.

For more recipes and photos from Vines of Entanglement, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.

Lumbee Handicrafts

Some of the Native American handicrafts of the Lumbee people, which inspired portions of Vines of Entanglement, set in Raleigh and Pembroke, North Carolina.


Ian’s soapstone turtle came in a handcrafted pine needle basket like this.


The turtle has special significance to the Lumbee—People of the Dark Water.

In this Sandhills region of the longleaf pine, the pinecone is represented in Lumbee jewelry and fiber arts along with tribal logo motifs.

The turtle to all Native American tribes symbolizes power, strength and longevity.lumbeejewelry_1407991066_75



Handcrafted Lumbee jewelry can be found at http://lumbeejewelry.com/.

My go-to source for Lumbee and other Native American handicrafts is the Eagle Feather Arts store in downtown Pembroke. Annie Ruth and the other wonderful ladies make each visit a treat.

For more about the annual Lumbee Homecoming, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.

Lumbee Pinecone #Quilt and #How-to-Video


Laura’s fictional pine cone quilt for Ian reflected the colors of the Lumbee tribal logo

Both the Lumbee and the State of Alabama claim the pine cone quilt pattern, sometimes known elsewhere as the Pine Burr Pattern. In the land of the long leaf pine, female Lumbee traditional regalia is a Southern style dress worn with pine cone patchwork attached to an apron and a matching shawl.

pineconequiltThe Pine Cone Patchwork was inspired by a quilt made by Henry Berry Lowry’s daughter, and is distinctly Lumbee in design. The patchwork design was initially created for Natasha Wagner, a former Miss Indian USA by Hayes A. Locklear and has since become a staple in area pow wow’s.


quilt2This folded fabric design, which resembles the bottom of a pine cone, has been seen in rugs and in other Lumbee art forms since the 1800s. images




Here is a 14 minute video to make a pinecone ornament—

For more information about the Lumbee and photos from Vines of Entanglement, visit http://www.pinterest.com/lisacoxcarter/vines-of-entanglement/.