I'm pleased to be a new Dark Oak Mystery author and to have a home for my "Something" series of novels set in Mexico. "Something" is Cotton Waters, an aging American expatriate and ex-political activist with uncertain legal problems at home, hiding out on the Mexican west coast in a tropical frontier of fishing villages and empty beaches, thriving on cantina life, jungle slumming, and playing second base for a local village baseball team. He's an illegal gringo alien, known to his cantina buddies as “Algo”--Something in Spanish, and scrounges up his lifestyle and a little beer money from the Puerto Vallarta tourist trade as a private hustler of a Mexican Riviera lost-and-found--helping some people get lost and finding others--if the price is right or the client’s cause worth the time and interest.
To a certain extent every writer writes about what he knows and has experienced. I have a relationship with west coast Mexico that goes back forty years and lived in the Nayarit coastal village culture off and on for over two years when Puerto Vallarta was still an unknown village. I was “something” of a Cotton Waters in my college days, traipsing around west Mexico and repudiating the American way of life during the Vietnam War. I return frequently to the region. However, I’ve lived on the remnants of a family homestead in southwestern Nebraska for thirty-nine years. I was a dryland wheat farmer for twenty years, and after giving up my own farming, I did itinerate farm labor, substitute teaching, and I conducted escorted excursions in Latin America for small groups for ten years. During that time I was also writing, and in 1991 my first novel, "Something in Vallarta," was published. Now, Dark Oak Mysteries is publishing "Something Like A Dream," a novel about the Huichols, one of Mexico's most ancient and mysterious indigenous cultures.
In reality, I'm an historian/writer, living as a hermit most of the year. In 2000, I was awarded the Distinguished Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council for my work in nonfiction. In 2007-8, I was a Fulbright Research Fellow, writing and doing historical research in Buenos Aires. I recently finished a history book called “Search for the Camino Real: a history of San Blas and the road to get there.” It’s about this little known historical port in Mexico and my personal search for parts of the old Spanish colonial road across Mexico.