#BlogTour Eleanor (Unseen) Author Guest Post

Guest Post and GIVEAWAY of Signed copy of Eleanor (Book 1) The Unseen

What books and movies helped you in the research for your book and it's Native American legend. Do you have a website you would recommend readers who are interested in looking into the subject more?

ELEANOR (The Unseen) is a young adult paranormal story about a young girl growing up in a small Wyoming town. She is called Eleanor. She lives in Jamesford, but she isn't from there. She's a transplant. And she's not so very young.

The story was inspired by a southwest Navajo legend I first encountered reading Tony Hillerman. I saw in that legend a metaphor for life and of growing up. It gave me an opportunity to explore the complexities of identity and change in the development of a true outsider.

That legend was the legend of the Skinwalker.

In the Navajo tradition, Skinwalkers are evil sorcerers able to change their form to trick and kill their enemies. It’s a type of magical lycanthropy. Interesting, but then I got poking around the internet and library and I was struck by how truly universal shape-shifting legends are. 

That gave me the idea to focus on a reality beneath the myth, under the conception that so many people seeing the same thing across centuries and miles might have experienced the same thing. There are other theories about concurrent legend, archetypes and such which explain it, but not for my purposes.

In researching the book I went to Dubois Wyoming and drove across the Wind River Shoshone Reservation. I picked up a little book of Native American myth called Stories of the Eastern Shoshone by Trehero & Hultkrantz, 2009. In that book I found the story of the “Nimirika” which has much in common with the Navajo skinwalkers. The fictional town of Jamesford, where Eleanor lives, is in Shoshone country so that legend needed to be brought in and fell in easy. The Navajo legends are well documented on the internet so I didn’t need to go far to get those. ELEANOR has deep connections to the Navajo.

For most of my research about “skinwalkers, I began with Tony Hillerman’s Skinwalkers, the Leaphorn/Chee mystery that planted the seed. I then surfed from the all powerful Wikipedia Navajo pages. My own strange library of arcane books served me well, a couple notable tomes being The Monster Manual, a D&D reference book and John Michael Greer’s Monsters. But these only took me so far.

My creatures are not skinwalkers, nor are they nimirika. Those are names given to something strange. Like werewolves and doppelganger they approach the issue but don’t encapsulate it.

What I have in ELEANOR is something different and unique, an entity inspired by legend, shaped by imagination and symbol and then brought into fiction. I have firm threads reaching into the historical mythical past which touch into the present. I can thus use the allegories and forms of legend to shape a saga of rivaling cultures and species, humanity and nature, predator and prey. 

I should mention one movie that crept into my thinking as I wrote THE UNSEEN series, a movie that had quite the impression on my young mind when I first saw it: THE LITTLE GIRL WHO LIVES DOWN THE LANE. It is a dark story about a young girl’s survival in a world that wouldn’t have her on her terms. The themes and tropes in that movie, and I suppose in Laird Koenig’s book by the same name, are present in ELEANOR, (THE UNSEEN).

Click HERE to enter the giveaway for SIGNED copy! 

It was a gamble for Eleanor to rejoin humanity, but she was driven to it.She’d been too successful forgetting. The last vestiges of her family hung by a thread in her transformed brain and drove her to be reckless.Ten years later, Eleanor hides in plain sight. She is an average girl getting average grades in a small Wyoming town: poor but happy, lonely but loved. Her mother, Tabitha, is there for her and that’s all she’s ever needed. But now her mother is sick and David has returned. The only
friend she’d ever had—the only other person who knows her secret—is back. And Eleanor again becomes reckless.

Eleanor is a modest girl, unremarkable but extraordinary, young but old, malleable but fixed. She is scared and confused. She is a liar and a thief. Eleanor is not what she appears to be.

•Eleanor is a raw, beautiful story with an unforgettable protagonist.Although it includes a paranormal basis in Native American legend, the story maintains emotions and complexity usually only present in literary YA novels.
• Unique and unexplored premise based on the Native American legends of skinwalkers.


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About the Author!
JOHNNY WORTHEN graduated with a B.A. in English and Master’s in
American Studies from the University of Utah. After a series of
businesses and adventures, including running his own bakery, Worthen
found himself drawn to the only thing he ever wanted to do—write. And
write he does. When he’s not pounding on his keyboard or attending
writers conferences, Worthen spends

You can find Johnny Worthen online here:


  1. Eleanor is on my "to read" list. I didn't realize Tony Hillerman had been an inspiration. Thanks for the great interview.


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