About year and a half ago, I poked my dad in the shoulder. “Dad, I need to go on a—“ I held my fingers in the air—invisible quotation marks. “‘Research’ trip to Texas.” He stood up and ran his fingers along the inside of his belt. “When’re we leaving?”
My dad grew up the son of a Texas barber. To find and keep steady work following the Depression, my dad’s parents stayed close to military bases in and around west Texas. That meant that my dad grew up working the oil fields and playing football on dusty stretches of pasture. Which meant I grew up listening to stories about Texas.
In honor of the book release in a week and a half, I returned, this past weekend, with three friends to hike the Black Mountain Crest Trail. It’s one of my favorite places and, to a great extent, where my imagination began thinking about what has since become ‘The Mountain Between Us.” See the pictures here.
It’s set in the mountains between Salt Lake and Denver but that’s not really the mountain I’m talking about. Most, if not all, of my stories, follow the arc of a character from a real bad place of being broken to a place of not broken. If you ask me ‘what fires me up as a writer,’ it’s that. That arc. From messed up to maybe not so messed up. Why? Because at the other end is hope.
If you want to see some of the pictures from my most recent research trip(s), click on any of the pictures in the bottom right hand corner of my Blog page and you should get re-routed to my flickr page. If not, send an e-mail to Jon, my web guru, and tell him what you think. Most of my research has taken place in the mountains of North Carolina. Pretty stuff.
Months passed, I kept turning the idea over in my head and soon realized I had found a bit more of the story still untold. I, like many of you, wanted to read the rest of the story. I found that much of my downtime, what might also be called ‘daydreaming,’ was spent following a few of the characters around in my head wanting to know what they were doing, where they were going, why and what happened to them after the last page.