It took 42 years to get these stories to the page; the Makah Island mysteries will officially launch in spring 2020.
Oddly enough, the Makah books didn't start with murder. They started with Joanna Ford and Vi Mitchell, two women who needed to realize what they had to lose on Makah Island and what they had to gain in finding each other. Revelation is first and foremost a love letter to the place I grew up and the quirky, independent, lovely people who live there. Telling it straight (pun intended) would have felt heavy-handed contrasted with the complexity of the community I love; enter death and dishonor.
Speaking of telling it straight, I'm proud to independently publish my work featuring a middle-age, middleweight, married lesbian and her grumpy new mentor. After a few wearying bouts querying with agents and publishers who loved the book, the characters, and the writing, but just couldn't see where it fit on their lists, I took a break. Then I asked myself why I was waiting for approval from the man for a story that had nothing to do with him. You won't find dead lesbians in my books and you won't find performative girl on girl action. You will find a world unapologetically centered around women who stare unflinchingly back at the male gaze.
I do want to thank everyone who made these stories possible. Where I start that list reminds me of Vi's opening gambit in Revelation. Perhaps my mom and my aunt, who between them always had a Christie, Marsh, Jackson-Braun, or Francis tented open somewhere on a coffee table? Definitely my aunt's Siamese cat... How about my elementary school teachers who chaperoned small busses of rowdy kids over ferry and forest to the Young Authors Conference? I'll stick with my Revelation acknowledgements for the time being.
Thank you to all the beta readers of this book and the A-for-effort training-wheel works that came before it: Susan Denaro, Amy Kolquist, Katie Wire, Cindy Powell, Bill Henderson, Shana Kelly, and Craig Sanders. Thanks to Jan Dorn for enthusiastically reading everything early and being kind when it wasn’t warranted, and Julie Jaffee who taught me to love journalism.
Thank you to Conor Plunkett and Patsy Atwell for donating your time and talent.
Thank you to Bill Henderson at Lighthouse Writers Workshop and my amazing, inspiring cohort for your loving support and insightful critique: Britnie Kane, Jenn Green, Laurel Kallenbach, the Phillips Huffeldt and Van Hoevenberg, and Sue Gelber.
A huge thank you Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime, two fantastic, volunteer-run writer’s organizations that light the fires and provide the spirit and the know-how to so many. Thanks particularly to Shawn, Joe, Michael, and Craig in south Denver who read my stuff… and were kind when it wasn’t warranted.
Thank you to all my Scripps sisters for instilling me with the confidence, courage, and hope to undertake and follow-through on such an audacious endeavor.
This moon shot's for anyone who has ever been knocked down but not out.