For the summer months, I’m celebrating the individuals who helped me create my stories.
Without live experts to advise me, I’d be gleaning from Google, hopeful I could sort out fact from fiction, desperate for depth and color. I depend on Author Samaritans, my blessed primary sources, for enriching my novels with authenticity.
The smiling man you see in the picture below is Ward Eldredge, curator at Sequoia National Park since 1998. He spent a couple precious hours with me, describing the politics, goals, and challenges our parks face for the next decade.
He is as nice a man as his picture conveys, bright, dedicated, and knowledgeable. I also spoke to some of his colleagues, each offering valuable insight into the workings of Sequoia in particular as well as park management nationwide.
Full Disclosure: My brother, an historian, who worked with Ward on the early history of African American troops guarding our national parks, provided an entrée to my visit with Curator Eldredge.
Am I the luckiest author in the world with experts like Ward, taking the time to speak to me about a setting and an organization I’d barely begun to understand?
My questions were rudimentary, based on too little knowledge, but Ward and his colleagues patiently explained their world to help me lend authenticity to the characters, setting, and plot in FIRE IS NICE.
Ward and his co-workers are examples of Author Samaritans, people willing to lend expertise to writers, without any expectation of reward, even though they’re aware I could misuse or twist the detail they provide. I write fiction, so by nature, I play fast and lose with facts. As my book hits Amazon, I cross my fingers, hoping all my blessed Samaritans will be happy they shared.
Thanks to Ward and many others, when you read FIRE IS NICE (out in October, 2018), a murder mystery that takes place in Sequoia National Park, you’ll will find yourself immersed in a real-life location under believable circumstances. If I provide you with a clear, interesting window into Sequoia’s world, I’ll consider my task half done.
Should you be mesmerized by the people, the intrigue, and the extraordinary life in this park, I’ll be a happy author.
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