“[A lot of people] began the autographing chat with a disclaimer. They’d assure me they were not mystery readers. They read my books because of the tribal cultural material intermixed with the plot line. They wanted to learn a bit about American Indians. It occurred to me that I had tapped into a mass of American readers who suffer from the same workaholic problem that besets me. Reading for idle amusement left them feeling guilty. My books, like a sausage sandwich spiced with antiacid tablets, give absolution along with the sin.” — Seldom Disappointed, p. 300.
Tony Hillerman’s long and distinguished life included Army combat during World War II that earned him a Purple Heart, a stint as a newspaper reporter and editor, and a childhood among the Pottawatomie and Seminole Indians. If you’d like to learn more about the author of our August book, Skinwalkers, check out these resources from the library:
Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir, by Tony Hillerman
The Tony Hillerman Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to His Life and Work, edited by Martin Greenberg
These two books are full of fun facts. For instance:
In a 1993 interview published in the Companion, Hillerman says that when he started writing Skinwalkers, he hadn’t planned to bring together his two main heroes, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. But he needed “a superior for [Chee] to deal with. And there was gold old Joe Leaphorn on the shelf, whom I knew very well, so I just started using him.” (p.61).
What would you like to know about Tony Hillerman? Does reading Skinwalkers make you wonder about his life or his writing process?
Posted by KG