Write what you know, we’ve all heard that advice. Aimée and I have managed to use our very different backgrounds to create scenes, settings, and characters for dozens of stories over our careers. In our upcoming Heartwarming novel, Homespun Christmas, we both shared our unique experiences in developing our character-driven story.
Our male protagonist, Joshua Nez, is Navajo, and the Navajo Nation was my turf, so I was able to give the book something more than a story. I’d grown up there, and have always considered Shiprock my home.
Like it was in our fictional town of Independence, I’ve seen first hand what happens to a small town when the largest provider of jobs moves on. It happened to my family when we lived in Shiprock, and to this day, I’ve never forgotten the anxiety and sense of helplessness that comes with it. My family and I had to leave home and relocate. Like Joshua, I returned years later, but the place had changed and I was faced with what was in essence a different world and a new reality.
Aimée’s background and experiences also play a major role. In Homespun Christmas Joshua is an architect, and we were able to draw from the experiences of Aimée’s brother-in-law, an architect, who opened a new business at the beginning of the recent recession.
Myka, the heroine in our story, is an expert craftsperson, and Aimée is an avid crocheter and loves to knit. Those skills helped create the story line that centers around a community of crafts people rebuilding their economy.
We’ve also rescued our share of large animals, and know what it’s like to nurture a relationship with a big dog who has lost all trust in humans.
A writer also has to be able to research and learn, then write about what they didn’t know. For Homespun Christmas, we learned about Churro sheep and camels first hand from those who own and breed them. We’ve also learned about processing wool, spinning, and weaving.
When you love what you do, it shows in what you create. Our books are meant to entertain, and show the reader a part of New Mexico they may never otherwise discover. If we achieve that goal, then what better way to celebrate than by sitting down together, placing our fingers on the keyboards, and doing it again? - David Thurlo