Santa Fe based author, Anne Hillerman, has continued the mystery series her father, the best-selling author Tony Hillerman, created beginning in 1970. Anne’s debut novel, Spider Woman’s Daughter, and her second mystery in the series, Rock with Wings, both became New York Times best-sellers. Her third novel, Song of the Lion, is now available from HarperCollins and is also a best seller.
You can visit Anne’s author’s page on Amazon here.
What motivates you to write?
I started in journalism, motivated by a desired to get the news out to people and by a lot of curiosity about our wonderful world. After that, writing got to be a habit, in a good way. It became who I was and what I did.
What made you chose the genre you chose?
I write non-fiction because of interest in the topics, such as Santa Fe’s beautiful gardens and interesting gardeners (Gardens of Santa Fe) or the places my father wrote about in Tony Hillerman’s Landscape: On the Road With Chee and Leaphorn. As for fiction, and my new book Spider Woman’s Daughter, I’d say the genre chose me. I couldn’t bear to see the series Dad created die without his woman character, Bernadette Manuelito, have a chance to shine as a competent police woman.
Where do your characters come from?
In non-fiction, they are real folks condensed into a few hundred or thousand words. In Spider Woman’s Daughter, I used Dad’s major characters that sustained his mystery series and added some new ones. The ones I came up with came from somewhere where imagination and reality meet and interact.
What’s most rewarding about writing?
Discovering something new, coming up with a darn good idea, phrase, character, setting, sentence that seems to be a gift from the universe.
Who are the authors who inspire you and why?
Tony Hillerman inspires me still. I can re-read his book and find nuances and moral complexity I missed the first times. I love the way he allowed his policemen protagonists to differentiate between what’s legal and true justice, between doing the expected thing and doing the right thing. Beyond that, I love books that tell a good story with poetic respect for the language.
What do you look for in other people’s books?
A plot that keeps me guessing enacted by characters I care about.