In finishing the final draft of Sky Dancers I wrote up a few paragraphs as author notes for the book. I enjoyed it so much I wanted to share it here.
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This book is one of my favorites. I spent a lot of my teen summers sitting in the backseat of our family’s Chevy Suburban as we explored the American West, from Glacier National Park down to god-knows where Arizona and New Mexico. On one of the longer vacations we drove from St. Louis all the way to San Francisco by way of Las Vegas. My sister and I still joke we can hear the Patsy Cline and Plácido Domingo cassette tapes my dad made us endure on those trips. Yikes!
One of the places that always stood out for me from that long trek was Hoover Dam. Back then (the 1980s) you could just walk around, take tours, and never worry about security. The bypass bridge wasn’t there, so traffic was madness, but it was all worth it for the views! The sheer scale impressed me so much that thirty years later I decided to write a book set in the same place.
The kid in me wonders what if the builders of Hoover Dam never stopped their construction? There were already numerous tunnels and endless digging, so how hard would it be to throw in a few extra rooms and then just keep going? Even if they only made a few chambers per year, there could already be a massive living space all set up for the first survivors of some kind of Armageddon. Wouldn’t that be cool?
But, alas, the adult side of me thinks it goes against human nature to prepare too far in advance. I’m as guilty as the next bloke (as Alex might say). No matter how bright the red marker on my calendar, I always find myself packing for camping trips the night before—then getting out there and wondering why I forgot my all-important camp utensils! I’m the idiot slurping his pork n’ beans right off the plate.
Speaking of forgetting, memory plays an important role in these books. I sat in that truck for two whole weeks and if I didn’t have pictures to jog my recall, it’s entirely possible I would completely and utterly forget almost every second of that trip. I certainly don’t remember what I did the day before I left, or the month after I got home. So much of what makes us who we are is left on the cutting room floor.
Still, this story tries to see the positive in humanity, even in the face of the endless boredom and dull routines of life. Because no matter how many times I forget stuff on those camping trips, I always commit myself to doing better on the next one. Sometimes I even get close to having everything I need.
But I, like humanity, have much room for improvement.
Thank you again.