Karen Kay - Libertarian

Find out YOUR political position ->


The words "libertarian" and "romance" are not often linked, but best-selling novelist Karen Kay has built a successful career that combines the two. In her popular and historically accurate series of romance novels set in the 19th century American West, she merges sensual romantic plots with the subtle message that Native American "tribes held individual freedom as being of the utmost importance."

Kay, perhaps best known as the author of Lakota Princess (1995) and Gray Hawk's Lady (1997), is matter-of-fact about her political beliefs. "I am a libertarian," she said in a February 3, 2005 interview with the Advocates for Self-Government. "[I believe] that freedom of the individual to decide for himself those things that influence his well-being should be under his own control. That one should have the right to one's own life and to decide what one's path in life will be... That big governments are seldom helpful or sympathetic to a people and that no one man, or group, has the right to destroy the freedom or the self-determinism of another."

What inspired those libertarian beliefs? Kay points to Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Paine. "I agree with their views and aims," she said. "I agree that a people should be free, and I agree that the individual citizen should have a say in his government... Freedom to speak out, freedom to choose, freedom to worship as one sees fit, freedom to follow one's own goals -- these things are that important. May their idea never die."

Kay's libertarian convictions are subtly woven into the plots of her novels. "The heroes and heroines of my stories are honorable people," she said. "And in truth, before the incoming Euro-American culture diversified the Plains Indian culture, the tribes held individual freedom as being of the utmost importance."

A descendent of the Choctaw Tribe, Kay sets her books among the tribes of America's Great Plains. The novels usually feature a romance between a Native American warrior (Blackfeet, Cheyenne, Lakota, or Crow) and a white woman. Each book is the product of "exhaustive research," Kay said; she reads first-person accounts from 19th century travelers, visits the locations described in her books, and consults with Native American leaders. Her goal is to make all her novels historically accurate, she said. "My books center upon the American Indian culture as it was -- a true picture -- not colored with the sensationalism of death and destruction as was depicted by the newspapers and 'eyewitnesses' of the time, who often carried more political ambition than truth," she wrote in her blog (www.blogstudio.com/karenkay/).

Kay published her first romance, Lakota Surrender, in 1994. Since then, she has written Proud Wolf's Woman (1996), White Eagle's Touch (1998), Night Thunder's Bride (1999), Wolf Shadow's Promise (2000), War Cloud's Passion (2001), Lone Arrow's Pride (2002), Soaring Eagle's Embrace (2003), The Princess and the Wolf (2004), and The Angel and the Warrior (September 2005). The Literary Times has praised Kay's novels for their "thorough research, talented writing and strong characters," while Romantic Times called them "a fine introduction for anyone interested in exploring [Native American] culture."

In an interview, Kay said she works in the romance genre because romance writers "point the way to how love could be, if one is ethical and honest. Life is not always about betrayal and strife. In my opinion, it's up to the artist to set the tone of a society... I think that we should point the way to how life could be, and how good life could be created." (http://members.aol.com/trusso1441/karenkay/)

Kay also works to make a better life for Native Americans: She supports the World Literacy Crusade, Blackfeet Literacy, and the Hollywood Education and Literacy Project (HELP).

For any would-be writers who might want to follow in her footsteps, Kay offers some very libertarian-sounding advice on the WritersAndReadersNetwork.com Web site: "Stay true to yourself and your ambitions, and don't allow others to alloy your view of what you want and need to accomplish in your life."

-- Bill Winter


"I am a libertarian... [I believe] that big governments are seldom helpful or sympathetic to a people and that no one man, or group, has the right to destroy the freedom or the self-determinism of another." -- Karen Kay in an interview with the Advocates for Self-Government (February 3, 2005)

Books & Tapes

To purchase books and tapes about or by this Libertarian Celebrity, search the world's best selection of books 
on liberty at Laissez Faire Books. For books or tapes that are not about liberty, search the vast resources at Amazon Books.

Contents copyrighted © The Advocates for Self-Government,, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational organization. Donations tax-deductible in U.S. All rights reserved.