Interview with Mark “Many Feathers” Hunter and Author Ms. E.Ayers

Today I am welcoming Mark “Many Feathers” Hunter and Ms. E. Ayers, the author who wrote his story.

Sylvia: “Welcome, Mr. Hunter.”

Mark: Mark took Sylvia’s hand and smiled broadly. “You are the reason, I am here.”

Sylvia: “Yes. It’s very exciting to have you here. It’s amazing what a few authors can do to bring you forward in time.”

Mark and Ms. E. Ayers look at one another and share a smile.

E. Ayers: “I was skeptical that it could be done, but you know how these paranormal writers are. For them, nothing is impossible.”

Sylvia: “I’m thrilled.”

Mark: Picks up the small recorder on the table. “What is this?”

E. Ayers: “It’s a microphone, it records your voice, then it saves your words to a tiny computer.”

Mark: Taps on it.  “How?”

E. Ayers: “It’s complicated.”

Sylvia: “What’s the most exciting thing you’ve discovered since you’ve been here.”

Mark: “That’s very difficult to pick one thing. Maybe television. I want to go in an airplane. I heard about flying machines and the men who invented them. I’ve seen many new inventions, such as cars but the television is amazing.”

Sylvia: “What year was it when you left your home?”

Mark: “1914”

Sylvia: “It’s exactly 100 years later, but Ms. E. Ayers only wrote your story until 1897.”

Mark: “Yes. Many changes since then. I was still a young man back then. Now I am a grandfather.”

Sylvia: “Can you tell us a little about your life since then?”

Mark: “Malene and I have several children. The Hamilton children have all done well. Marcus went to school in Philadelphia and became a surgeon. Dill lives in Michigan works for a company there, and Clara is marrying a man who works for the railroad. My own sons work on our ranch.”

Sylvia: “Do you still have the saw mill?

Mark: Nods. “Robert’s oldest son runs it.”

Sylvia: “Did you accomplish what you wanted to do? To help your people?”

Mark: “I wanted to do more, but not everyone has agreed with my plans. Many think I am crazy but when I see all this… I want to live another hundred years.” He spreads his arms wide. “I know I’ve not done enough, but I cannot make my people see what they do not want to see. They see the changes as bad, and I see them holding to the past, complaining about today, and doing nothing for tomorrow.”

Sylvia: “What do want them to do?”

Mark: “I want to see our tribe return to independence. Education is so important. I look at Marcus and Dill and see where they can do great things because they went to college and have learned so much, but college is not an option for an Indian.” He looks at Ms. E. Ayers, then spreads his hands wide again. “Today my people can go to college, and there are many schools on the reservation. I am excited to know that and to also see that Malene and I would be free to marry and no one would…I don’t know the expression.”

E. Ayers: “Not sure what you are thinking but no one really cares today what color someone is. The walls of prejudice have crumbled. There are still those who do not like it, but they are few and usually don’t say anything in public.”

Mark: Nodded. “So much has happened.”

Sylvia: “If you can take a souvenir back with you, what would it be?”

Mark: “I’ve been told I can take a few things with me but I cannot alter history. I want to take those little cakes wrapped in clear…cellophane. Malene will not believe you have such things.”

E. Ayers: “Tastykake products. He likes the Krimpets and the ones with the creamy fillings.”

Sylvia: “Have you read the book that Ms. Ayers wrote, and do you think she captured your story, the way everything happened?”

Mark: “Oh, yes. Sometimes made me seem nicer than I am. She left out the times I was so frustrated that I wanted to give up, and I was ready to give up Malene. She left out that parts where I’d climb up on the ridge and scream my anger to the wind. She also left out the moments when Robert and I did not agree. ”

Sylvia: “I noticed your hair is still long. You’ve not cut it like…like…”

Mark: “White men?”

Sylvia: “Yes. It seems odd to say white man.”

Mark: “I am not a white man.” He holds out his arm. “I am red. See my color? I am Apsáalooke. I am proud of who I am. I have taught my sons and daughters the ways of the Apsáalooke. They must never forget.”

Sylvia: “Apsáalooke is the name for the Crow Tribe, correct?”

E. Ayers: “Yes. It means large beaked bird or crow. The Indian language was written first by the French fur trappers. They wrote what they heard.”

Sylvia: “This is all very fascinating. How long did it take you to write Mark’s story?”

E. Ayers: “I kept getting interrupted so it slowed me down. But it seems that both Mark and Malene were constantly prodding me for attention. When I wrote their story, I had the history, I knew the overall story, I only needed to get it down as fast as they could tell it.” She looks at Mark. “And it’s true. Mark is not very patient.”

Mark: Grins.

Sylvia: “Were there any surprises as you wrote it?”

E. Ayers: “Yes and no. I’d say the surprises were often tied to Malene. I didn’t think she’d actually go to San Francisco, but when her dad said to do it, she did. Back then young women didn’t defy their parents. She loved Many Feathers. But everything was stacked against them ever having a happily ever after. She’d suffered through an abusive marriage, a breach birth, went to a totally new place, dealt with postpartum depression, became responsible for three more children, and she had no support system. Malene went through the wringer for a young woman.”

Sylvia: “It sounds terrible.”

E. Ayers: “It was.”

Sylvia: “Mark, do you think you’ve had a happy-ever-after marriage?”

Mark: “Malene moans that she is getting old. I tell her we are both getting old, but she is still as beautiful to me today as she was when I first saw her.”

Sylvia: “Do you have more historical novels planned?”

E. Ayers.: “Yes. Writing Frank and Adie’s story for Sweetwater Springs Christmas, was fun. I still have Frank’s grandmother’s diary to finish, and I have more stories of Creed’s Crossing in the works.”

Sylvia: “That’s wonderful and I’m sure your readers are thrilled to know there’s more coming. You put such a different spin on the era.”

E. Ayers: “Not really. I write it the way history was. I don’t gloss over things. Let’s ask our readers if they have any questions or comments for Mark or me. And I’ll give away a copy of A Rancher’s Woman to one lucky person if they email me but they’ll have to take out the spaces. E (dot) ayers (at) ayersbooks (dot) com.”

To get your copy of Creed’s Crossing go to

Thanks for being here today.

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  1. What a fun interview. I was especially fun to see Mark Hunter/Many Feathers again. I loved A Ranchers Woman. It’s a fantastic book that put me in the story so that I didn’t want to leave.

  2. This interview was a lot of fun and I’m so glad that you’ve been on the blog today. I’m about to head out to Yoga, but you guys keep talking. Now I’m going to have to buy the book just to read the story!!

  3. Mark: She’s gone. I only want to see how the recorder works. Where does our voice go?
    E.: In those little holes right there. Now put it back.
    Mark: How does it get out?
    E.: This button will allow the voi–
    E.: Sorry, folks, he pushed the button.

  4. Thanks, Sylvia, for having Mark and me here. We were supposed to be here last month but my computer’s hard disk decided it was too old to keep going. So Sylvia invited me to return this month and bring Mark with me.

    Mark “Many Feathers” Hunter was a wonderful character to create. And it’s been a pleasure to work with the Crow Tribe and to discover their proud history.

    When we talk about the American Indians, it’s not confined to the USA but rather all of North America. Each of the tribes have their own history and culture. The Crow tribe has stolen my heart. Their reservation is located in the south-eastern portion of Montana. They have maintained their language and their children grow up bilingual (Crow and English).

    I wanted my readers to see Mark as an intelligent man who loved Malene dearly. But also had a difficult time because he was caught between the ways of his people and his vision for a future. If he really had been here, I think he would have been proud of his Crow Nation today, but also upset to see that it took another sixty years for his people to be accepted by society.

    Again, thank you, Sylvia, for having us. It’s been fun and I hope I’ve added to everyone TBR pile, right on the top!

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