Posted by Diana Belchase
I’m pleased to have Shannon Baker here today. She’s the author of the Nora Abbott Mystery series, fast-paced murder mysteries which center around environmental issues and the Hopi Indians. From the Colorado Rockies to the Nebraska Sandhills, the peaks of Flagstaff and the deserts of Tucson, landscapes play an important role in her books. Shannon worked for The Grand Canyon Trust, a hotbed of environmentalists who, usually, don’t resort to murder.
Here’s the interview I did with Shannon at Malice Domestic:
Diana Belchase: Shannon, congratulations on being nominated for the New Mexico/Arizona Book Award for Tainted Mountain and your new book, Broken Trust! Can you tell me how you came to write them?
Shannon Baker: When I moved to Flagstaff in 2006, there was a huge controversy raging about man-made snow on the San Francisco Peaks. Those peaks are sacred to 12 tribes and feature in their creation stories. I started researching the Hopi and was fascinated by this tiny, ancient, mystical culture. They believe they hold responsibility for the balance of the whole world. After learning much about the tribe and its history, I’m not going to dispute that claim. How could I not write about it?
Shannon: I didn’t intend for this to be a series but when Midnight Ink offered me the option, I jumped at it. Because I love Boulder Colorado, and coincidentally moved back there, I decided to take Nora to Boulder. Broken Trust involves some weird science coupled with bizarre conspiracy theories. I researched Tesla technology, the HAARP facility in Alaska and scary information about using weather as a weapon of mass destruction. It was fun to mash all this up and bring in the Hopi spirituality. Poor Nora has to catch up on her science quickly if she’s going to save the day.
Diana: Your books are definitely character-driven, though. It’s not all science.
Shannon: I also loved bringing in the beauty and strangeness that is Boulder. I had a blast creating the characters that populate Broken Trust, as well as bringing back Nora’s mother, Abigail, and exploring their evolving relationship.
Diana: Well, here are blurbs from the two books because I know our readers will love reading them.
And one lucky commenter, who answers the question “What elements must a mystery have to get you to start reading?” will win a copy of Shannon’s book Broken Trust!
Hoping for a new beginning, Nora Abbott takes a job at Loving Earth Trust in Boulder, Colorado. But the trust is rife with deceit and corruption and the body count is climbing. With the help of her mother and a Hopi kachina that technically doesn’t exist, Nora races to stop a deadly plot to decimate one of the planet’s greatest natural resources.
A young ski area owner in Flagstaff, AZ is determined to use man-made snow, an energy tycoon has his own reasons for promoting it, enviros and tribes may use any means to stop it. But the spirits of the mountain just might have the last say.