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  • Gregory Zeigler

What She Said

Pam's recent post really resonated with me. Perhaps you can infer that from my rather unhinged comment. Isolation has not been a great time of creativity (unless you count the fire starters I've been "crafting" for Christmas gifts) and writing. In fact, at one point, I posted on Instagram a picture of a small patch of grass behind my house and mentioned the grass seemed longer than it had a day ago. I felt I was commenting both on the boredom of isolation—as in watching ones grass grow—as well as the mostly trivial content that lives for a few instants on Instagram. I think one friend, who has known me for decades and appreciates my twisted sense of humor, got it.

Update: On Wednesday, May 20, I'm making my escape. I'm driving to Las Vegas to get my Airstream out of storage. And there is virtually no chance of coming back contagious from Vegas, cuz why happens in Vegas...

Watching my grass grow (left).

In isolation I did have some fun with this post (below) on Thonie Hevron's Mystery Readers Only blog. As did, I think it's safe to say, the 150, give-or-take, mystery writers/readers who viewed it. You may have noticed Pam Beason in her recent Free Range Writers post flattered me by adopting the rather unconventional format.

A Chat with Environmental Mystery Writer, Gregory Zeigler

By Gregory Zeigler

Like most of you, thanks to Covid-19, I’ve been spending a lot of time alone at home. In fact, about three weeks into this strange isolation odyssey, something interesting occurred to me—we are all pretty much living the same life. When I’m sitting reading and enjoying the view, it’s easy to imagine what my good buddies in isolation in South Carolina, or my friends who are in “containment” in Northern France are doing at that same moment. It’s oddly comforting.

Also, time alone at home has resulted in drastically altered personal patterns. I’m actually doing puzzles and craft projects. I haven’t done crafts since I was a kid at camp. Puzzles? Never got ‘em. Always found them puzzling. Now I’m doing them. Thank God I had the foresight some time ago to purchase two pairs of jammie bottoms with bears on them. That way I have a pair to wear at all times.

And I talk to myself, a lot. More than usual. And that gave me an idea. Why not interview me for Thonie’s blog? I mean, who knows me better than me? Here goes.

I found Gregory sitting at home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming staring out the window.

Please see below—recent stormy view from my window of The National Elk Refuge.

Zeigler: I understand your new Jake Goddard and Susan Brand thriller, Rare as Earth is ambitious in scope. True?

Gregory: Thank you so much for addressing that. Yes, Rare as Earth, the third in the “thrillogy,” starts in Central Pennsylvania examining the hydraulic fracturing or fracking industry, which is like a modern day gold rush with all the attendant downsides. But soon the action shifts to Utah where a young woman and then later her mother are abducted. There the emphasis is the reduction of Bears Ears National Monument and the Western extractive industry—especially gold and rare earth metals—thus the title.

My first novel, The Straw that Broke examines critical issues around the overtaxed and endangered Colorado River. My second thriller, Some Say Fire looks at intentionally set forest fires as an act of terror, but the scope of Rare as Earth, which also, by the way showcases young warriors for the planet like Greta Thunberg, is my most ambitious to date. Rare as Earth will be available summer of 2020.

Zeigler: Who would you say has influenced your writing the most?

Gregory: Oh, I’m so glad you brought that up—Tony Hillerman. And I’m thrilled that his daughter, New York Times bestselling author, Anne Hillerman has graciously written the cover endorsement for Rare as Earth.

Zeigler: I’ve heard that fictional characters often “find their own paths.” Do you experience that?

Gregory: I’ve always wanted someone to ask me that. Yes, as I like to say, similar to people in the real world, “characters follow character.” And one of my favorite aspects of writing Jake Goddard and Susan Brand is discovering where we are going next in the process.

In Rare as Earth, I took Jake and Susan out of their element, the West and dropped them in Pennsylvania. In no time they took the action back out to Utah where they live. My novels evolve organically, and my characters wanted to move west. Also, I found a new burst of energy when rare earth metals expanded the environmental scope of my book beyond fracking in the first fifty pages.

Zeigler: It has been nice chatting with you.

Gregory: You as well, stay healthy my friend.

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