Even as we breathe clapsaddle

PBS-NC’s North Carolina Bookwatch, hosted by D.G. Martin, comes to an end with a short season featuring five North Carolina writers.

At 3:30 p.m. Sunday, viewers will meet the author of the first novel ever published by an enrolled member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, “Even As We Breathe,” the debut novel of Annette Saunooke Clapsaddle.

Set in 1942, during World War II, the lead character, 19-year-old Cowney Sequoyah, takes a groundskeeping job at Asheville’s Grove Park Inn, where the Army is quarantining enemy officials and their families.

Joining him in his family’s Model T for the two-hour drive from Cherokee to Asheville is Essie, a beautiful young Cherokee woman who is anxious to break away from the Cherokee community.

Cowney and Essie become good friends. He wishes for more, but she develops an interest in one of the foreign detainees. On this situation Clapsaddle builds a poignant part of the book’s plot, according to Martin.

“Clapsaddle’s story brings all these and many more engaging characters and situations together to make a compelling story that gives its readers a vivid experience in Cherokee culture,” Martin said.

Clapsaddle is a 1999 graduate of Smoky Mountain High School.