People often ask me this question once I tell them what I write about. I give them two answers.
The first comes from an experience I had many years ago. When I first went to Hole-in-the-Rock (in Papago Park, Phoenix), as I rubbed my hand over the polished rock wall beside the trail, I felt the presence of the countless people who had walked that way before and touched that same rock face. That prompted me to learn all I could about the prehistoric people who lived there: the Hohokam.
The second comes from something I read. I've edited many books about the Southwest and Southwestern archaeology, including several archaeological site reports in the Phoenix area. One of these site reports discusses a fascinating burial at a village called Pueblo Salado (excavated by SWCA).
In a context late in the Hohokam sequence, investigators discovered the skeletal remains of two young men. Both were missing their leg bones, and they had been positioned facing in opposite directions, with their right arms linked.
I started wondering why this burial was so different: were the men brothers? friends? lovers? enemies? That wondering led to writing. And that writing led to more research and more writing, and here I am, three novels and 20 years later.
I still haven't found the right place for this anomalous burial in any of my Hohokam novels, but I'm still working on "Blows a Bitter Wind" . . . maybe the third time will indeed prove to be the charm.
I had my mother teach me to read when I was four, and I've never stopped. Now I can play with words all day long... it's the best job in the world.