Ask The Author Page

Q:  Where and when were you born?

A: I was born at the North Plains Hospital (just torn down this year) in Borger, Texas, 1951.  I'm the youngest of three boys.

 

Q: When did you start writing the Mogi Franklin mysteries?

A: I went on a rafting trip on the Chama River in the early 1990s.  Along the river, I saw a very interesting rock formation.  It occurred to me that it would be a great place to hide a stash of gold coins.  A few weeks later, I had written a story: bandits robbing a stagecoach, a leaking boat bouncing down a flooding river, a psychopathic killer for a bad guy, and Mogi discovering a pile of gold while rafting down the Chama. The story was resurrected after a number of years, changed, enhanced, and is now Book Nine in the series - "The River of Gold"

 

Q: Where did you get Mogi as a name for your main character?

A: There's a remarkable highway between Mexican Hat, Utah (where you launch your rafts to float down the San Juan River), and the take-out (where you get off the river to come back home), about 60 miles away.  It includes a one-mile section where the road switchbacks straight up the face of a huge mesa.  And I mean straight up!  That portion of the road was designed by a road engineer named Moki.  When you see it, you understand that it is an incredible achievement.  Look on a Utah road map for the Moki Dugway on Highway 261.  After having gone up and down it a couple of times, I thought the name Moki was a pretty cool name for a character.  But I later figured out that I had not spelled it correctly.  I had used Mogi instead of Moki.  Anyway, I liked my spelling better by that time, so that's the way it stayed.

 

Q: Are the historical stories in your books true or made-up?

A: Completely made-up.

 

Q: Is the history in your books true?

A: In general, the history is mostly true: where the story takes place and what it was like at the time.  Gas, oil, and gold prospecting in southeastern Utah; hard rock mining in Ouray; the conflicts between the Pueblo Indians and the Spanish army; the fire in Los Alamos; the cattle drives of Charlie Goodnight and the kidnapping of children by the Comanches.   But there's no turquoise being stolen, no European style resort threatening Ouray, no mysterious Spanish village, no stolen plutonium, and no cattle baron with a castle.

Those are from my imagination.

 

Q: Are the locations real?

A: In general, the locations are real.  You can go to a map and find the San Juan River (which I've rafted several times); Ouray, Colorado (a beautiful town); the El Malpais National Monument (south of Grants, New Mexico); Los Alamos (I live there); and the joining of the Mora and Canadian Rivers (east of Las Vegas, New Mexico).  However, there's no hidden mine in a mesa, no gold mine next to a waterfall, no Querencia, no hidden river, no education center in the Valle Grande, and no frontier castle on the Canadian. 

Those are from my imagination.