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Friday, 21 August 2015

✉ Wabanaki Blues: An Ancient Trail Out of Depression - Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel

Today author takes over our blog to tell us about her latest novel, Wabanaki Blues (, Poisoned Pen Press, 272 pages), a Young Adult Mystery, book one of The Wabanaki Trilogy.

"a wonderfully funny, wise novel that is part love story, part mystery, and part coming of age. Her savvy, intelligently funny writing is music for the soul." -Karen Osborn, author of Patchwork and Centerville

"The people, the music, and the bears move through the landscape of this story, toe-heel, toe-heel, in a mesmerizing and healing dance." -Cheryl Savageau, Pulitzer-nominated author of Dirt Road Home

Author Guest Blog Post | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

An Ancient Trail Out of Depression

“Everybody in America has some dumb theory about depression.” 

These are the words of teen blues musician Mona Lisa LaPierre, the main character in my new murder mystery, “Wabanaki Blues”.  At the start of the story, she’s known as the girl who never smiles.  Yet ironically, she is named after the woman with the most famous smile in the world.  Sometimes life is cruel.

Fortunately, Mona learns to cope with her depression.  She often tells herself to keep her “mind on the mountaintop” and to stay away from “the murky bottom.”  Creating blues music is her favorite tool to pull herself up when she’s down.  When the issue gets serious enough, as in the case of dealing with a dead friend, she writes lyrics that get pretty gritty:

“I set you in the ground, ‘neath a pile of rolling stones

I want to hold your hand, but it’s a heap o’ skinny bones
I know you’re gone.  Gone to where the blues don’t play
Where you’ll never get no older.  Just a child all your days.


Mona’s Abenaki Indian grandmother, Bilki, finds a path out of depression through mural painting.  She paints murals of swirling fall leaves that look so real Mona tries to step inside one, on one of those days when she wants to get away from it all.  Her mother, Lila, treats her depression with prescription medication.  Different strokes for different folks.  The point is we all need to find a way to cope that works for us and keeps us healthy.

I am a Mohegan Indian.  So when I feel down, I sometimes meditate on this old tribal design called “The Trail of Life.”


It goes up and down like rolling hills and the ups and downs of life itself.  There is an important lesson in this trail.  It tells us that when we are at the bottom we can only go up.  But also, that when we are on top of the world we won’t stay there forever.  Life is composed of natural ups and downs.  It isn’t normal for things to be flat.  Our emotion is meant to be in motion.

Having this visual understanding of life’s ups and downs can console us when we need it most.  We are reminded that peaks are naturally followed by valleys, and that no none stays in the valley or on the hilltop forever.  This image teaches us to cherish happy days and commit them to memory, knowing that sad times will quickly fade away.  This image is so important that I wear it on my Native American ceremonial regalia collar.  My late great aunt, Mohegan Medicine Woman, Gladys Tantaquidgeon, beaded it for me.  I cherish this collar for its beauty, workmanship, connection to my beloved relative, and uplifting message.

I hope that by sharing the Trail of Life with you, it may one day bring you the comfort that it has brought me in difficult times.

Melissa Tantaquidgeon Zobel

Wabanaki Blues - available NOW!

UK: purchase from Amazon.co.uk purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK find on Goodreads
US: purchase from Amazon.com purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo

2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing your personal backstory to this new YA mystery novel.

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  2. Dear Melissa,
    Sharing your Trail of Life is lovely, generous and so encouraging. Thank you.

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