When Tor.com reviewed Peacemaker, apart from praising its pacing, themes, narrative, and characters, it also started a conversation on the origins of Nate’s surname, Sixkiller. Over to Marianne, for more on the origins of Sixkiller:
It’s always fascinating to hear how authors conceive the names in their stories, and I wrote a lengthy piece about my process over at Sons of Corax. In PEACEMAKER, one of the main characters is called Nate Sixkiller. His name, in particular, has prompted some discussion, so Caroline (Angry Robot’s divine publicist) invited me to share the background on it.
When I was researching the book, I came upon the biography of a Native American lawman by the name of Sam Sixkiller. He was, according to what I read, a famous, respected, and slightly feared gentleman whose name is attributed to his great grandfather having killed six men.
In Chris Enss’s book Sam Sixkiller, he quotes secondary sources that give an idea of the man’s legacy:
The Indian Journal editor noted “the Captain [Sixkiller] has done probably more than any one person to free the railroad towns of this Territory of their dangerous and reckless elements, and to him the country owes a great degree the comparative security to life and property that it now enjoys.” In a report made to the Commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, Indian agent Robert L. Owen commended Captain Sixkiller noting that “he died a martyr to the cause of law and order and had the respect and confidence of all the decent people in the country particularly of men like Honorable Isaac C. Parker, U.S. Judge of this district….”
When I was in the early days of planning the series, I’d blogged about the project, and a relative of Sam Sixkiller’s contacted me and offered biographical help. This was a wonderful gesture on their part, but, ultimately, my stories are fiction, and I didn’t wish to make any inappropriate connection with the real man.
However, Sixkiller is such an evocative and truly Western surname, I felt compelled to borrow it!