Our family business, since 1985 has been trading and retail in the American Indian arts, primarily Southwestern cultures. Indigenous cultures world wide, have an amazing resilience and ability to endure despite the most repressive conditions imposed by more "advanced" occupiers. This has been the norm since we emerged to find the ice melting! I try to reveal characters in whom this interplay and struggle is evident, in my writing.
Another important influence is my mixed, Irish/Anglo heritage, and the traditions of the pre-Christian Celtic cultures -- many surprisingly "modern" in their justice and treatment of women and minorities, property ownership, government, and appreciation of the arts. Celtic culture once stretched from the Silk Road, across Russia all the way to the Emerald Isle, and vestiges of it still endure in all the places it has touched. Something that widespread, with life still in it, must have had a few things right and those things are the subjects I deal with in my work.
Today, I think we have a sad tendency to forget the lessons our ancestors learned the hard way. The idea that man has existed on the planet for more than a million years, yet only the last 4000 or so are considered important -- worthy of preservation and study, is ridiculous. We will need to search backwards in our history if we expect to continue to move forward.
Charles Dickens, Joseph Conrad, James Joyce,
John Irving, J.R.R. Tolkien, Larry McMurtry, Annie Proulx,
And, of course, Tony Hillerman and Rudolpho Anaya