It isn’t often a writer has two books coming out within three weeks of each other, but that’s how it happened for me this time around. It’s exciting of course. What writer wouldn’t be thrilled to have his babies born as twins. But it has also been strangely eerie. Though born only weeks apart, my characters lived in different centuries and had disparate social and moral dilemmas.
In THE HANGING OF SAMUEL ASH, Hook Runyon is a one-armed railroad bull who drinks busthead liquor, lives in a caboose, and collects rare books. He’s discovered a war hero hanging from a wig wag signal, and he’s determined to get him home for proper burial. Turns out not to be as easy as you might think.
In contrast, THE DIG: IN SEARCH OF CORONADO’S TREASURE is the tale of Coronado’s quest for Quivira, the seven cities of gold, and quite a tale it is, but it’s also the story of a contemporary archeologist who is exploring a mystery that has been unresolved for over five centuries.
So you can see that in writing these books I made mental excursions not normally required of stable people. But I did so willingly for the work, and in the end I came to love these characters. I know their strengths, their weaknesses, and their deepest desires. I immersed my life completely into their lives, but that is good. It’s what a writer should do.
Okay, so sometimes I lost track a little of what was real and what was imagined. But as a writer I had to make my characters believable, didn’t I? It was my job.
Yes, I know there are few cynics out there who would say this is the classic definition of serious mental illness, but that’s definitely not the case here. Perhaps slightly off center but mentally deranged? Not in five-hundred years.