What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write A Day for Bones?
The flood that starts the novel is based on a pair of real catastrophic floods in Ellicott City, Maryland in 2016 and 2018. The HorseSpirit Arts Gallery, where most of a skeleton is found in the wake of the flood, is real, although its owner relocated to Savage, Maryland after the 2018 flood.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
In fiction, I’ve mostly read mysteries for the past couple of decades. I used to read a lot of science fiction and some fantasy, but I’ve had trouble finding much that I really like more recently.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
Too many. I want to get to Anne Hillerman’s mysteries. My late wife started on them and said they were really good. I’ve been working my way through John le Carre’s novels, and I have a pile of very old (circa 1940) SF that belonged to my father. In nonfiction, I’m currently reading “Everest: The Unclimbed Ridge” by Sir Chris Bonington and Charles Clarke.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
The scenes I most enjoy writing are the ones where interesting characters are doing the work for me. I had a lot of fun writing Mr. Jim’s scenes (cantankerous old coot that he is). I also found it gratifying to write Rick Peller’s interactions with Shania North, a young woman he met in “Ice on the Bay” and who he’s been trying to rescue from opioid addiction. The final scene where Peller introduces Shania to his wannabe girlfriend Joan Churchill was also special, being redemptive on several levels.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
Not really, but I do have a cat that likes to walk over and lie on my keyboard, which can make writing… interesting.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
I’m a Baha’i and try to live in accordance with my religion’s teachings. Sometimes I even succeed.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
I don’t know that it’s obvious, but if “A Day for Bones” has a theme, it may be the power of forgiveness and second chances. Focusing on people’s faults is corrosive, while forgiveness is life-giving. I’d be gratified if a few readers came away with that message. Aside from that, I just hope you enjoy the story!
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