Sunday Dinner with Shannon McNear

Sunday Dinner

For today’s Sunday Dinner, I invited Shannon McNear. Shannon loves losing herself in local history. When not cooking, researching, or leaking story from her fingertips, she enjoys being outdoors, basking in the beauty of the northern prairies.

Sunday Dinner is a traditional (noon) meal served after church on Sundays. Whole families, including extended family, would gather over a large meal to celebrate a day of rest. Multiple cultures enjoy this Sunday Dinner tradition. In my experience, I know it from both my Midwestern farm family as well as my Italian-American family. Now, I’d like to bring Sunday Dinner virtually to you. So, pull up a chair as we invite various guests to join us each week!

Without further ado, please tell us something interesting readers would enjoy learning about you.

I started out as a psychology major in college then changed to Biblical studies. Though I never finished my degree, I never really stopped studying and wound up using both extensively while raising eight children. 😊

Can you tell us about your latest novel?


The Lost Colony of Roanoke: discover an alternate view of their fate alongside the life of Pocahontas.

Born the daughter of a Powhatan chieftain and a woman of unknown origins, Mato’aka enjoys a carefree life. When strange men from across the eastern waters appear near her home, she regards them at first as a mere curiosity. Soon, though, she finds herself torn between fascination for one of their leaders and the opinions and ways of her people–then becomes a pawn in their delicate and dangerous game of politics. Drawn to a young Englishman, John Rolfe, who has lost a wife and baby daughter, she shares his griefs. . .and perhaps something more.

Could she have a future among the English of Jamestown, accepting their ways and even changing her name? Could her destiny be a part of the lasting legacy of the Lost Colony of Roanoke?

Why did you choose to write a story set in historic Jamestowne?

The history of the Lost Colony flows naturally into that of the settlement at Jamestown (or Jamestowne as it was spelled then). So it seemed an obvious choice!

Have you lived in or visited that part of Virginia? What research was required to set a book there in the early 1600s?

I lived in Lynchburg for many years but have visited the Tidewater area. In addition to a too-short visit to Historic Jamestowne itself, I studied websites with photos of the various parks and rivers of the region, and read (and re-read) as many of the available primary accounts as I could.

Can you tell us more about how your novel revolves around the story of Pocahontas?

I created a fictional connection between the Lost Colony of Roanoke Island and Pocahontas, but I made it as plausible as I could—and the history is drawn as purely from primary accounts as possible.

What research was required to respectfully write about Pocahontas?

I studied everything I could find of Powhatan and other Native cultures and history, including what is regarded as the true story of Pocahontas, as passed down in Native oral history. I prayed I’d be able to portray her and her people with honesty and sympathy while giving her a genuine faith experience and journey.

Were resources easy or difficult to find on these topics? Do you have a favorite resource?

Some were easy to find and some were not. Helen Rountree has several volumes about Native history and culture that were absolutely invaluable. And then there’s a compilation by James Horn of the primary sources related to the settling of Jamestown which includes all of John Smith’s works but also the various accounts from the initial Roanoke voyages. That one has been hugely helpful!

What is one piece of your research that you couldn’t include in the book, but wish readers could know?

I really wanted to cover more of the political infighting between the English at Jamestown. More of their struggles as well. I also barely scratched the surface of William Strachey’s writings—there was no room for his actual perspective even though much of what people think they know about Jamestown and the Powhatan was through his eyes. I could have written a trilogy about this chunk of history, alone!

Do you have another book in the works? What can you tell us about that book?

I’m currently on a bit of a break, but there might be a Lost Colony book #4 coming. 😊 This would be a story about Virginia Dare herself, a direct sequel to Elinor and Mary. (So, chronologically before Rebecca, although those two could be read in either order.)

Is there anything else you’d like readers to know?

It’s my hope to give readers a glimpse of Jacobean history—that is, contemporary to the reign of King James, so famed for his version of Scripture and yet not without his own faults and sins. I work from the theory that history is far more complex and nuanced than we can fully know. Fair warning—this is SO not your Disney version of Pocahontas!

The afternoon is slipping away, so we have to draw the stories to an end. Shannon, thank you for joining us today!

If readers would like to purchase a copy of Rebecca where might they be able to do so?

Amazon | Christianbook | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million

If readers would like to learn about you or your other books, how might they find you online?

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads | Bookbub | Twitter

Over Sunday Dinner next week, I’m inviting you to join me to talk about my upcoming historical romance, Refuge for the Archaeologist.

4 thoughts on “Sunday Dinner with Shannon McNear

  1. Thanks so much, Christi! And thanks again, Danielle, for having me back! ❤❤❤

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