Sometimes when I lose my focus, I think back to the footrace in Chariots of Fire when Eric is knocked down off the course. In slow motion you see him rise to his feet and through sheer determination, he passes the guy who knocked him down and wins the race. But the inspiration isn’t in Eric’s winning the race, it’s in the strength and belief in himself that it took to get on his feet and persevere.
Someone asked me if I have any mentors, and I do: every member of my two critique groups! It’s amazing how they can read my muddled chapters and give me the insight necessary to clear them up.
Ideas for stories are everywhere! For example, the three books covering Emerson’s summer with his Navajo grandfather came out of a casual conversation with friends one night. I wanted to write a “boy and his dog” story, but place him in setting where he had no friends and no modern conveniences. One of my friends laughed and said “Oh, that would be sheep camp out on the Rez.” I decided to throw in a dachshund – a big misfit at sheep camp – and my story was born.
I’m a military “brat,” and my years reading stories to my younger siblings developed into a love for writing, which I blend with my love for dogs, my interest in southwest native cultures and historical time periods, and my desire to reach young people coping with life changing events and difficult choices.