Nevada Barr Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Nevada Barr

Nevada Barr

An interview with Nevada Barr

A Conversation With Nevada Barr


Q. How do you choose the settings for your novels?

A. In the beginning of the series, I wrote about the parks I had worked in. Since retiring parks have a number of ways of creeping into my consciousness. First, are they a good place to die? Second, do I know anybody there I can use as a contact to weasel my way into the heart of things?

Q. What was the inspiration behind the creation of Anna Pigeon?

A. Anna was conceived as my alter ego when I was working as a law enforcement ranger in Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas. Track of the Cat, the first book, was not written as the first in a series, but as an expression of who I was then set amid murder and mayhem. Since then, Anna has evolved into her own person.

Q. In Flashback, Anna is considering marriage. Does this mean she'll be settling down? Where will she go next?

A. Anna may marry –I haven't decided yet—but settle down? Never! The next book is set in Yosemite National Park and tentatively titled High Country. The superintendent there is a friend of mine and he very kindly arranged for me to spend some time horse packing in the backcountry with Laurel Boyers, a wonderful ranger who really is the heart and soul of Anna Pigeon. It will be out in the spring of 2004.

Q. Anna seems to love diving. Do you share her fascination with the underwater world?

A. Yes, no doubt about it. In the water, there is a fabulous realm where we are not designed or equipped to tread, a place inhabited by creatures so bizarre and fierce and beautiful that they would beggar Isaac Asimov's imagination that I cannot resist. The sea both attracts and terrifies me. Diving is not only a way into this world but enhances one of my favorite neuroses, claustrophobia.

Q. Flashback has historical aspect, as well as the mystery that Anna must deal with. How was the writing of this novel different from your past work? Was it any harder?

A. In FlashbackI had the great fun of writing from the first person for the historical chapters and of creating a world very different from those Anna and I have been wandering in all these years. To do a totally different form and character was marvelously refreshing. The difficulty lay in tying the two mysteries together in a believable way and in capturing in words and language the feel of the 1860s without being stiff or pretentious.

Q. How did you make the leap from acting to rangering?

A. I'd been acting professionally for about 10 years and interested in the environmental movement for seven of those. I was making a living as an actor (a minor miracle) but I'd reached my peak. Meryl Streep was not losing sleep for fear I would show up at an audition for a part she wanted. In working seasonally for the NPS I could continue to make my living acting and still have a connection with the real world. Once I'd begun the parks stole my heart and acting went by the wayside.

Q. Of all the parks you have worked or visited, which is your favorite? Would Anna settle near one of her beloved parks?

A. I've never been able to pick a favorite. They are, literally, incomparable. For canoeing you can't beat Voyageur or the Everglades, for climbing Rocky Mountain and Yosemite are unbelievable, for diving it's St. John and Dry Tortugas. They are so different and so perfect each in their own way. Anna might live near one but settle? I don't think so . . .

Q. Anna Pigeon is a wonderful series, but do you plan to write another series, maybe of a different genre?

A. I love the idea of writing a different series, historical mysteries perhaps. And I've written a book of spiritual meditations, Seeking Enlightenment Hat by Hat, which will be out summer of 2003, but I've no real plans. At present I have just vague yearnings.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Here I Am
    Here I Am
    by Jonathan Safran Foer
    With almost all the accoutrements of upper middle-class suburban life, Julia and Jacob Bloch fit the...
  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.