1 - How did you get interested in the topic that’s featured in your book?
In Kindred Spirits, the latest in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery series, Tempe visits Crescent City where she becomes friends with a murder victim’s sister and a good friend. Both these women are Tolowa.
I made a visit to Crescent City several years ago where I met a fascinating Tolowa woman who told me a lot about the Tolowa people’s history and their legends. I’d never heard of the Tolowa before. What I learned is the entire Tolowa nation was nearly wiped out through vicious attacks on the men, women and children. Though information about the Tolowa is not the main thrust of the story, much is added as flavor.
2 - Tell us a bit about your background. What have you done in the past that relates to your book and that topic?
Primarily, I am a writer. This is the eighth book in the series and my heroine, Tempe Crabtree, is a Yanduchi, part of the Tule River Indians. The more I’ve written about her, the more I’ve learned about the Native Americans who live on the Tule River Reservation near me–and I’ve renamed the Bear Creek Indian Reservation in my books.
As a writer, I’ve been invited to speak to the local college’s anthropology class and I’ve gone on a field trip with this class to places on the reservation that aren’t known to the general public. One thing I always remind everyone is, I borrow a lot from our local native people and the reservation, but primarily, I’m writing fiction.
I’ve done a lot of research about our local Indians and I have tremendous respect for their spirit and determination despite the hardships and prejudice they’ve been subjected to through the years. And I’m excited about their generosity to the community now that their casino and other businesses have become successful.
3 - What advise would you give to someone who is interested in your topic?
Anyone who writers about Native Americans needs to be respectful and do enough research to present an honest picture.
4 - What do you see as the benefit to participating in groups and organizations? My first thought would be networking opportunities and the chance for personal and business growth. What are your reasons?
I belong to many groups and organizations. I am a member and serve on the board of the Public Safety Writers Association and have gained much knowledge about law enforcement and the people who have chosen this profession because of this membership. I have several fans of both my Deputy Tempe Crabtree series and my Rocky Bluff P.D. series in this group.
I am a member of four chapters of Sisters in Crime, my local San Joaquin chapter, Central Coast chapter, the L.A. chapter, and the Internet chapter–of which I’m the president. I’m also a member of Mystery Writers of America, Epic, and Writers of Kern. All of these organizations have listserves which offer a lot of ongoing helpful information. Of course there are all kinds of networking and promotional opportunities. I also attend various conventions and conferences sponsored by these groups. I’ve made life-long friends with members of all these organizations.
5 - Who is the ideal person to read your book? If each person that reads this was going to recommend your book to one person, what sort of person would they want to choose?
First, the ideal person to read Kindred Spirits should be someone who loves mysteries and especially mysteries with a Native American flavor. If someone is looking for a fast moving story with plenty of excitement, they should like my books.
6 - What do you think ignites a person’s creativity?
For an author, it could be almost anything. Meeting Junie Mattice and listening to her stories about the Tolowa people living in and around Crescent City certainly ignited my imagination and I wanted to find a way for Tempe to visit Crescent City and mingle with some Tolowa women with the same sort of dynamic personality as Junie’
7 - What have you found to be the biggest stumbling block for people who want to start writing?
Too many people I run into who want to write will tell you the whole story of what they want to write and have yet to put down a single word. Also, a person who wants to write needs to be a reader–reading the kind of books he or she wants to write.
8 - How would you suggest they can overcome that?
The reading part is easy, go to the library and check out the kind of books similar to what they want to write and read, read, read. Pay attention to how the story is constructed, what makes a chapter, how the dialogue moves the story along, how the writing is balanced between action, dialogue and narrative. Take notes. Go to a writers conference. Take notes. Start writing. Write, write, write. When you’re done, rewrite.
9 - What do you find is the biggest motivator for people to succeed? Is it money, security, desire for fame or something else?
I don’t know about others, but I do know if money was my primary motivator I would have given up long ago. My primary motivator is finding out what my heroine is going to do next. I have to write–I can’t imagine life without writing.
10 - Who is the “perfect” person to read your book?
Anyone who likes a good mystery and wants to be entertained.
11 - Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
I’d like to thank you for doing this, Nikki, for all of us authors. Marilyn http://fictionforyou.com