It was always my intention to write another story about Darryl and his pigeons, the problem was how to make it different from Fly, Cherokee, Fly? Well, I knew right away that everyone would want to know if Darryl's pigeons would ever hatch squabs, so that was my starting point. This time, he's got two young birds to take care of. And that's not an easy task if you don't know much about keeping pigeons. In this book, Darryl finds out about pigeons the hard way - but to say any more would give the plot away.
I was also quite keen to explore the relationship between Darryl and the girl who appeared towards the end of Cherokee, Susan Duckins. It's a funny thing when you write a book; sometimes you sense that something might be going on between two characters, something you weren't planning to write about. This is how it was with Darryl and Susan. I sensed that Darryl ... liked her a bit. The trouble was, she was obviously the wrong type of girl for him. But as anyone who's ever been IN LOVE will tell you, you don't always pick the right girl or boy every time, even when the right one is under your nose!
So now I hear all the lads out there groaning, "Oh no, don't tell us that PAWNEE WARRIOR is a love story! We thought it would be all about Indian battles and stuff!" Well, there is a battle in it - a fierce battle. But if I told you what happens, it would ruin the story for you. Let's just say that the kind of problems Darryl faces in this book are the sorts of things you're ALL going to go through at some point, boys and girls. Try it. I think you'll like it.
Some people have asked me where the title came from. Well, it was like this. One day a young lad, aged about ten or eleven, turned up on my doorstep with a pigeon - in a shoebox. The pigeon was young, no more than three weeks old. The boy said there were pigeons nesting in his roof and he had found the young bird in his alleyway. He had brought it to me because it couldn't fly and he was worried that a cat would get it. So I took it from him and said I would look after it. I called it Pawnee, which was the next Indian name on my list.
It soon turned out, however, that Pawnee must have been badly hurt in the fall from his parents' nest. He couldn't stand properly and he shook his head a lot as if something was not quite right with his nervous system. Nevertheless I persevered. I fed him by hand in the hope that as he grew stronger his balance would return. Sadly, it never did. He fought gallantly through another six weeks of life, but died in my hands one winter's morning. I had always referred to him as my little trooper. He was my Pawnee Warrior.