Monday, February 1, 2021

The Psychology Behind the Wings of the West Series by Kristy McCaffrey


By Kristy McCaffrey

When I began developing characters and ideas for my historical western romance Wings series, the titles intuitively came to me—The WrenThe DoveThe SparrowThe Blackbird, and The Bluebird. How I would tie the birds into the storylines was a great unknown as I began each tale, but one thing emerged rather quickly—an underlying psychological theme of the journey of the feminine psyche.

In The Wren (Book One), the heroine Molly has been abducted by Comanche when she is nine years old. At nineteen, she finally finds the means to return home to Texas, to search for the life she’d lost so abruptly. We must all leave the safety of “home” at some point in our lives to grow, whether physically or metaphorically, and the lesson is always that home isn’t a place outside of us but an internal sanctuary that we must nurture within ourselves. Molly’s journey comes full circle when she makes a home with the hero, Matt.

In The Dove (Book Two), Claire lives in a saloon run by her mama. Claire isn't a soiled dove, but she still grapples with themes of “prostitution,” although not necessarily of the sexual kind. She doesn’t feel worthy to be a doctor and mutes her own ambitions. This story addresses the desire of the psyche to be healed and whole, but doing so through outside, external means is only effective up to a point. This leads to the next book.

In The Sparrow (Book Three), Emma undergoes a shamanic journey of initiation while in the Grand Canyon. During this process, she is helped by her power animal, Sparrow. Life causes wounds—we all have them—and while mending these are often sought through medicine, at some point an internal journey will be required. It’s the only way to truly heal the soul. While today we might seek the counsel of a trained psychologist, many indigenous people used the medicine man or shaman. The techniques of both are strikingly similar.

In The Blackbird (Book Four), Tess is a storyteller, A Keeper of the Old Ways; this is, and always has been, connected with imparting wisdom and magic to listeners through the telling of tales. She meets a hero who nurtures and protects this side of her, as any true life-partner should. Stories have the power to heal. It is yet the next step in mending the heart and the soul.

In The Bluebird (Book Five), the heroine Molly Rose (niece to the Molly in the first book) yearns to travel and see the world. She connects with a man who can help her achieve these goals. The final step in the psychological journey—once healing has been undertaken and a new, better version of oneself is achieved—is to take all that’s been learned and go forth in the world. Life is an adventure and is meant to be experienced as such.

Learn more about the Wings series at Kristy's website.



Julie Lence said...

Hi Kristy: It's not always easy connecting the stories in a series. Sometimes the obvious is staring us right in the face and it take a while for the author to connect the dots. Glad it all worked out for you and your awesome series. Hugs!

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Hi Julie,
So true. It was much easier to see what I had done once the series was complete.

Patti Sherry-Crews said...

Awesome, Kristy! I love the bird titles in this series. I'm curious if you had the psychological journeys of the heroines in mind before you wrote the series, or if you saw what where you were going and expanded on the idea as you were writing it? Story telling and creating our own narratives is healing.

Kristy McCaffrey said...

Hi Patti,
The stories came to me intuitively. Only later did I realize the arc of the bigger journey. :-) I've often thought that storytelling is a form of energy healing, both for the writer and the reader.