I’d heard the term used before, but when my editor started editing, she called and said she couldn’t find a reference to crippy online. I kinda shrugged and said: “Let’s use it anyway.” I liked the word. FYI, a crippy is a cryptographer, someone who makes or breaks code.
I got the idea to write about a kid who can decipher any language, any script, before all those super genius/savant TV shows came out, or any of the movies. The problem with an idea and with multiple entertainment outlets is that by the time you’re done with your manuscript, somebody’s already beaten you to the punch.
I wanted to illustrate how meth was destroying rural America, small towns out west. I was really familiar with the drug and the lifestyle, for reasons I won’t get into here. I knew small towns out west, because I live near one. And I’ve fallen in love with the Navajo people and their culture.
I live in a triple junction of sorts, where Native, Anglo and Latino culture come together. I wanted to highlight that, so I made my MC (main character) someone with half-Navajo, half-Anglo ancestry. He’s adrift in both worlds, feeling at home in neither. He turns to hard drugs, deals them, relinquishes custody of his kids while he’s doing hard time, then lives the life of proverbial regret.
Enter Sam, a young girl who’s sometime prostitute mother pawns her off on Mitch. Sam may have been exposed to chemicals during her mother’s pregnancy, but the larger point is that she has a gift, and due to this gift, everyone wants her, all for selfish reasons.
Now, I’ve written a whole bunch of books, and mostly, I like to travel in them. I grew up in the heart of Chicago, and the best way for me to do it is to write. Eventually, I moved to the Four Corners, where most of my books are set. Yet the hero always takes a journey, and it’s to novel, hidden, interesting places I’ve been. So my books are part travel guides.
And then there’s this: I love sci-fi. I love fantasy. So what you end up with is a character-driven quest which incorporates science fiction, as well as mystery and suspense. My job is to keep you reading. There’s a lot of pain in this work. Hopefully, the payoff is that you’ll be entertained, and surprised.