"Nevada Barr has carved out her own fictional fiefdom, creating a body of
work like no other," the San Diego Union Tribune remarked in 1996 upon
the publication of the fifth book in Barrs acclaimed series featuring
National Park Service Ranger Anna Pigeon. Since the 1993 publication of the
first Anna Pigeon novel, Track of the Cat, which was awarded both the
Anthony Award for Best First Novel by The Crime Writers Association and the
Agatha Award for Best First Novel by Malice Domestic, Barr has earned a
reputation as a talented and much admired writer. As the Chicago Tribune
said, "Nevada Barr is a park ranger who can write up a storm."
The daughter of two pilots, Barr bears the name of the state in which she was born but apparently was not named for the state but for a character in one of her father's favorite books. She grew up at a little mountain airport in Johnsonville, California. After attending college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and completing her graduate studies at the University of California at Irvine, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in theater. She stayed there for five years, as a member of the Classic Stage Company, performing in Off-Broadway shows.
From New York, Barr went to Minneapolis, where she tried her hand at more theater work, landed some spots on television commercials, and worked on industrial films, among other things. Her former husband was involved in the Park Service, which inspired her interest in wildlife and conservation, and eventually led to the profession that until recently she shared with her main character: National Park Service Ranger.
When she felt she could afford to, Barr began to work summers at various parks, and spent her winters pursuing a career in writing. She published her first novel, Bittersweet, in 1984, but it was during her tour of duty in Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, that Barr conceived of the Anna Pigeon character and began the series with her critically acclaimed, award-winning debut, Track of the Cat in 1993. A complete list of the Anna Pigeon series and Ms Barr's other books can be found on her website
She lives in New Orleans.
Nevada Barr's website
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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 yetbut 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...
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