Author: Richard Satterlie, Ph.D
The following interview with Richard Satterlie was conducted by: NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of Bookpleasures.com.
Today, Norm Goldman, Editor of Bookpleasures.com is excited to have as our guest,Richard Satterlie, Ph.D,author of Phoenix. Richard was Professor of Biology at Arizona State University and he is now the Frank Hawkins Kenan Distinguished Professor of Marine Biology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
Good day Richard and thanks for agreeing to participate in our interview.
Where did you grow up and have reading and writing always been a part of your life?
Thank you, Norm.
I was born and raised in Vallejo, California–about 35 miles north of San Francisco, on San Pablo Bay. Way back then, I wanted to play basketball in the NBA, so reading wasn’t high on my list. Same with writing. As my career plans changed (out of necessity), writing became more and more important. Due to the need for so much science-specific reading and writing, I didn’t have much time to read fiction, and no time to write it. Eventually I found time, then I made time, but still I don’t read as much fiction as I’d like. I do most of my writing at night, after the kids go to bed.
Why do you write and what inspired you to write Phoenix?
I guess the short answer to the first part of the question is I like intellectual challenges, and after so much technical writing, fiction was a significant challenge. Also, I like the idea of being able to create situations, and build these situations into stories, all from my imagination. The wellspring for Phoenix came from a book on the history of the Black Canyon area of Arizona, and the gold and silver mines that operated there for a time. What allowed the wellspring to grow into a creek was a simple observation from that book. Stage and wagon hold-up artists were being pinched by the development of railroads. But in the heyday of gold and silver mining in Black Canyon, stagecoaches and wagons were still used to carry payrolls and ore. Any reasonable robber would migrate toward the easy marks, so this part of Arizona collected more than its fair share of bad guys. What’s interesting is this creek plays a very minor role in the story, which speaks to how fiction finds it own streambed.
How long did it take you to write Phoenix and what did you learn from writing this book, as I believe this is your first work of fiction? The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
It took about six months to write it. I did write one story before Phoenix, around 90,000 words, but about 89,999 of those words were horrible. I didn’t know how to write fiction, so I just told a story. Fortunately, I received an extremely harsh evaluation of this work, which upped the challenge for me. With good advice and several books on how to write fiction, Phoenix was my response. Most of what I know about writing fiction came from working through Phoenix. I learned the basics of the craft. I learned that the plot evolves as the characters develop, and that this evolution shouldn’t be resisted. I learned that I am still playing hide-and-seek with the subtleties of the craft. And, I learned that this last part probably will never change for any serious writer.