Arizona or Bust: Mark's Arizona Site

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JULY 2018:   Share My Passion For AZ

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My Q&A Sessions with Author Anne Hillerman

 Parts 1 through 10 of my 10-Part Series

Leading Up to the October 1st launch of her book, Spider Woman's Daughter, featuring characters created by her late father, Author Tony Hillerman.

Mark:  "I’m told your Dad, Tony Hillerman, received the Navajo Nation Award “Special Friend of the Dineh”, due to his accurate portrayals in his many books.  He often admitted that he was afraid of “getting it wrong”.  Are you afraid of getting it wrong?"Anne:  "Sure, I dread getting things wrong. That fear, and the fear of disappointing Dad's fans, was a great stimulus to rewrite, research, rethink and do my best to get things right."
Mark: "When contemplating the continuation of your Dad’s series, what kind of pressure did you feel?  Were any of your siblings contemplating the same, and how have they supported you during this “transition of power”? "Anne:  "Continuing the series was a huge decision for me and one I didn't make lightly.  I thought of the millions of Dad's fans and how they, like me, missed the stories and the wonderful characters he created. That thought both inspired me and made me apprehensive.  My mother offered endless encouragement and most of my siblings--none of whom are writers-- will join me in Albuquerque to celebrate the book launch October 1."
 Mark: "Your Dad, Tony Hillerman, won countless literary and achievement awards, and held high positions with the University of New Mexico and Mystery Writers of America, among others.  Where are those awards located, and now that you’re writing about the same characters, do you feel differently about his many awards?"Anne:  "Many of Dad's awards were donated to the Zimmerman Library at the University of New Mexico along with copies of his original manuscripts, letters from fans, notebooks and more.  I have always been proud of my Dad's success and still am!  ("
Mark:  "Between Tony’s “The Blessing Way” (1970) & his final book “The Shape Shifter” (2006/36 years), can you imagine how your own shape-shifting career might evolve?  What if, for whatever reason, this is the last book in the Leaphorn-Chee series?"Anne:  "Like Dad, I started as a reporter and loved my time in journalism. Beside writing non-fiction and, now, "Spider Woman's Daughter,"  I also run the Tony HIllerman Writers Conference. and write food reviews for the Albuquerque Journal.  I don't know where the future will take me, but it has been a wonderful adventure. And, no worries, another Chee Leaphorn mystery is in the works!"
Mark:  "In your Dad, Tony’s books, the themes are a uniting factor, but vary from book-to-book.  Which of your Dad’s themes are important to you, and are therefore, likely to continue?"Anne:  "He left me so much to work with, I could write a dozen books and never fully explore the seeds he planted in his wonderful series. My Dad was aware of the challenge people face in honoring ancient traditions while living a 21st century life. His books often stressed the different between what was legal and real justice. He wrote about the environment and the conflict between growth and preservation.  He also loved challenging stereotypes of all kinds."
Mark:  "Will new central characters continue to be introduced, and will familiar but absent characters find their way back into the continued series?"Anne:  "I am expanding the character of Bernie's Mom to plan an ongoing and I have created a pesky kid sister for Bernie, too.  I also resurrected some of Dad's absent characters in" Spider Woman's Daughter." For a hint, take a look at his "A Thief of Time."
Mark:  "On the popular PBS trilogy (Tony’s Skinwalkers, Coyote Waits, Thief of Time), Joe Leaphorn’s wife, Emma (played by Sheila Tousey) does not succumb to cancer as originally written.  Though Emma can never be replaced, will Joe Leaphorn ever rekindle that love with a new wife?"Anne:  "Joe Leaphorn has asked his companion, Louisa Bourebonette, to marry him and she's told him she tried marriage once and wasn't good at it. Love takes us all to unexpected places, however. Stay tuned."
Mark: Native American beliefs explain that a totem animal is a spirit guide, and is with one throughout their lifetime, both in the physical and spiritual world. Do you have a totem animal, and how would your Dad, Tony, answer that question?”Anne:   “My Dad was a devout Roman Catholic and respectful of any spiritual belief that includes compassion, justice and respect for others and our amazing natural world.   If my late father had a totem animal, and he might have, I’ll have to ask him the next time we meet.   As for me, I've always loved dogs.  My Megan and I talk about writing as we do our morning walk. Friends have given me Zuni fetishes which sit on my computer as inspiration.”
Mark: “We’re all looking forward to your new book, Spider Woman’s Daughter, due out October 1st.  If your Dad, Tony, was here to write the Foreword to your book, what would he have to say?"

Anne:   “Mark, that question brings a lump to my throat. I miss my Dad every day. His praise of and pride in my earlier successes helped me become a professional writer. He also taught me not to take myself too seriously. I think he'd like the book.  At least, that what my Mom tells me, and I never argue with her!”

When asked to convey something that my questions didn't cover, Anne stated the following:

Anne:  “I am deeply honored and humbled by the outpouring of support and good wishes from my Dad's many, many fans. Your stories of how his books touched your lives are important to me.  Thank you.”



Hillerman Facebook Links:

Anne Hillerman (page)

Tony Hillerman Appreciation Society (group)

Tony Hillerman Portal (website)

Hillerman Web Links:  Tony Hillerman Writer’s Conference  Tony Hillerman Portal Archives at University of New Mexico

Clickable Links/What I've Learned On My Trips


Biggest Surprises:

  • They aren't lying about the 'dry' heat.
  • Arizona is filled with former Midwesterners.
  • Recruiters aren't too keen on out-of-towners, until you move there.
  • No rain on six consecutive trips, for a total of nine weeks (1999-2005)

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Average Daily Highs-Fahrenheit  (Daily spread can be 35+ degrees)







































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