A French soldier-of-fortune and a Quapaw Indian bride personify Old and New World cultures at the explosive moment of first contact in the wilds of French Louisiana.
First published by Bantam in 1986, WOMAN CALLED ARKANSAS has since been reissued under The Authors Guild back-in-print imprimatur.
No other fiction has mined the gold in the rich colonial history of this little State chosen by explorer Robert La Salle to locate the first European settlement on the Lower Mississippi.
The novel aims to do for Arkansas what Michener did for “Hawaii,” "Texas," and “Alaska.” It is informed by de Tonti’s own letters and journal-- a best-seller in its day that inspired thousands of Europeans to go west-- while serving as second-in-command on the 17th century La Salle Expedition to survey the vast American territory claimed by King Louis XIV. Other journals, Crown documents, letters & maps set the solid historical foundation in one of the most formative-- and least remembered-- periods of American history.
Kathe Robin, senior editor of Romantic Times wrote this review of the original Bantam title, RIVER OF DESTINY:
Arkansas Times Magazine, January 1987 reviewed WOMAN CALLED ARKANSAS novel under its original title...
“Bantam Books recently published a fast-paced paperback historical romance called ”River of Destiny” by Pat Winter who lives on a mountgain in Searcy County. It’s a checkout-counter classic, with a cover picturing a buxom Indian maiden who looks like Sophia Loren… The story is set in the late Sixteen Hundreds. The leading characters are a Quapaw “princess” names Weeononka and Henri de Tonti, the French explorer who founded Arkansas Post and is called the Father of Arkansas. She was beautiful… he was handsome, true-hearted, shy, and a war hero with an artificial hand. In spite of this, [the novel] is a lot of fun, is well-written, and maintains a credible historical perspective… Winter has done quite a bit of research on the period, but she doesn’t let it get in the way of her story…”
Winter is a daughter of the Mississippi, born in Tennessee, raised in Little Rock, transplanted to Southern California just in time to avoid the Central High segregation conflict. A graduate of USC and UCLA with a masters in broadcast journalism, Winter was a reporter for The San Diego Union and KFWB All-News Radio in Los Angeles before selling a movie idea that developed into the ABC TV movie-of-the-week “SOMEONE I TOUCHED.” She quite her day job and spent years in Manhattan tech writing and authoring magazine articles, screenplays and novels, including "WOMAN CALLED ARKANSAS," her first historical. Four other Winter novels were published by Bantam Books and other paperback houses as detailed elsewhere on this Authors Guild website.
Home now is the word-hunter, settling in the Ozarks to finish the Mississippi Cycle, a narrative history of the River from Pre-Columbian times to the Civil War.
A chapter-by-chapter sequel, MADEMOISELLE ARKANSAS, is plotted that takes Weeononka to France with the first of King Louis “savages” to be lodged in the zoo at Versailles. Her wilderness knowledge help her survive the famine and economic collapse that followed the Sun King’s demise. She makes a fortune gambling on the Mississippi Bubble, and returns to La Louisianne a wealthy woman just as the colony passes from French to Spanish rule, and finally into United States ownership as the entire middle third of the nation that is today more than a dozen states, one of which is Arkansas.