Q: In your book, BLACKWELL: The Encounter Begins, your main character often refers to the Wyoming desert where he lives as the untamed. Does this hold any special significance to you, the author?
A: I had a taste of the untamed during my early childhood in Alaska. I didn’t live in a cabin in the wilderness or anything like that – we lived on the edge of Anchorage – but in the 1970s, Alaska was still a young state and fairly cut off from the rest of the United States. What I remember most were the long dark winters, the clean and cold air, the frequent power outages, my mom and dad making their own jams and wine and smoked salmon, the occasional Moose in our yard, and roaming the woods close to our house. I remember visiting relatives in the Bay Area of California and thinking how civilized it felt compared to my home in Alaska. Fast forward a couple decades – my wife and I spent three years in Wyoming, not far from were BLACKWELL is set. Much of Wyoming reminded me of Alaska, but then I was able to process it as an adult. I remember feeling small there. I traveled quite a bit for my work, and sometimes I would pull to the side of the road, get out of my car, and just stand there. It was so big and quiet and lonely; so unlike the cities I knew so well. I remember thinking how easy it would be to get lost and fall prey to the elements. I had been thoroughly warned that people died from exposure or thirst when their car broke down because it could be days before another car came along. There’s something humbling, yet exhilarating about living in a land were human civilization is something of a novelty. That’s the untamed.
Stretch of Highway in Wyoming