Doranna Durgin writes across genres to include fantasy, mystery, tie-ins and various flavors of romance--from the action-oriented Bombshells to her latest paranormal release, STORM OF RECKONING; she also manages the Backlist eBooks project with author partner-in-crime Patricia Ryan. She spends what's left of her time hanging around with horses, dogs, and wildflowers--all of which inspired the commentary to follow.And be sure to read the entire post for instructions for winning one of Doranna's books.
And while Doranna is my guest, I'm being featured at Daily Cheap Reads. Hope you'll pop over there, too.
I spend a lot of time outside.
When you add up the bird-watching, the flower-prowling, the agility training, and the horsie back riding...yeah, I spend a lot of time outside, and always have.
I started out working as a park naturalist in Ohio and then headed to the deepest Appalachians (100 acres, log cabin, endless mountain ridges); from there, I had an interlude in the western New York suburbs. I eventually escaped to the rural southwest--first to the amazing world of Flagstaff's San Francisco Peaks, then to Albuquerque's unique South Valley, and most recently through the pass to the Tijeras Canyon foothills.
That's where I am now, and that's where, barring significant surprise, I'll stay.
It's a journey that spans a treasury of different ecosystems, different weather patterns, different critters. It includes the richest riparian forest; chill flat hickory and chokecherry woods; the rarified air of high desert, snow pack, and ponderosa pines; the hot bosque valley of the Rio Grande--and now the windward foothills of another sacred mountain. Totally different flavors of life, and they've all become part of me.
All absorbed right through to my writing.
At first I resisted the lure of using my personal worlds in my writing. And at first the resisting was easier--I was creating worlds for my fantasy novels, so I could use what I knew without being (too) obviously referential about it.
But then I started writing more contemporaries. And while I can and have researched the ecological details of Far Distant Places, my own closer places keep wanting to come out. (Most recently, this means a book of luxuriating in the complexity of Sedona, Arizona--from the striking red rocks to the deep canyons. As if I could resist!)
It's more than just the convenience of it--although the convenience of weaving location through the plot-building process can't be denied. But it's because...you know, writing is about sharing what drives you, and about what means something to you. And I don't just live in these places, I live as part of them, soaking them in…wallowing in them, if I can wax just a little bit poetic. So I love these worlds of mine...and I want readers to love them, too.
Here's where it gets into nefarious deeper layers. Ulterior motives, even.
Because the things you know and love become things not so easily dismissed. If you know--even vicariously--the scent of the ponderosa pine, the deep green needles, the ridged, red-tinted bark...then when climate change makes them vulnerable to the pine bark beetle, maybe it matters just a little bit. When fire rages through the mountains due to perfect storm conditions created by man's intervention with natural cleansing fires, then maybe suddenly allocating resources to forest management matters, too.
And if it matters to enough people, then maybe it makes a difference.
One can hope.
So I guess that makes me an environmental proselytizer.
But you know, mainly...it's because writing where I am is about writing what I am, and what I know and love--and being able to share that so it changes just a little bit of something in someone else. It's what I want to be able to say about my writing…that on some level, it matters.
Isn't that what we all want?
Those who comment are automatically entered to win an ARC of THE RECKONERS (the book that kicked off The Reckoners series last year) --I'll pick a winner at the end of the week. It's your choice whether you leave your email or check back here at the blog. See you in the comments!
You can learn more about Doranna's inner workings/horse/dogs/books at her Webstead, or at her blog, WordPlay, or even at FaceBook; the Backlist eBooks project is an easy find at BacklisteBooks.com