Friday, 28 September 2012

The Spirit of Death Valley

The Indians called it "the Burnt Land". At 130 degrees, it's one of the hottest places in the world, and at 286 feet below sea level it contains the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. It's a place of desolate, forbidding beauty. It's called Death Valley with good reason: its beauty is of the deadly kind.

What better backdrop could there be for those contemplative moments that point up the amusing, touching or dramatic scenes in a busy narrative? At the heart of the novel I have Albert Johnson and Scotty alone together in the desert. Johnson listens to Scotty talk about the meaning of life. This is a crucial moment on which the whole outcome of the story turns. I wanted to write it so that a reader would have the opportunity to capture scenes of rare natural splendor in his or her mind's eye.

I want readers to come away from the book appreciating what is out there waiting for them to see.

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