GOOD MORNING JAMES AND THANK YOU FOR VISITING WITH MY BOOK ADDICTION AND MORE TODAY…..
James–Jim–was born in Denver, schooled there and in New Haven (code word for Yale), spent four WWII years in the Navy, then six in New York as an editor for Business Week.
After marriage and the birth of their first child, the happy couple moved to Sonoma, California. Jim freelanced there for five years (code for until the money ran out), then spent 23 years on the creative side of a San Francisco advertising agency. He and Mary-Armour now live happily ever after in Marin County, California.
MBA: What kinds of books did you read as a child?
Thinking back to my childhood and the books I read is a real pleasure. I remember very well taking the streetcar downtown to the Denver Public Library when I was 12 or 13, and spending the afternoon roaming through the stacks. I read all over the map, but my favorites turned out to be Will James, who wrote great cowboy stories (“Smoky the Cow Horse” was my favorite), Albert Payson Terhune, who wrote about the brave,
beautiful Collies of Sunnybrook Farm, and finally, P. G. Wodehouse, who wrote about an upper-class British twit named Bertie Wooster and his razor-sharp butler Jeeves.
MBA: What authors inspired you to write this story?
I wasn’t really inspired by any particular author, but just by my incessant desire to put words on paper. I’ve had this all my life. I sometimes write potential opening paragraphs for stories and just stop there, because it’s a lot easier to write a single paragraph than to write an entire novel. I keep these paragraphs in a special file on my computer, and read them over now and then to see how they strike me. One of these paragraphs turned out to be about a young girl looking across the crater of a huge, dilapidated volcano, wondering what was on the other side.
I liked this paragraph and wrote a few more paragraphs. And then a few more, and a few more after that. Before I knew it, I had 10,000 words about Katie MacDonald and her father, and found I was writing a novel to be titled On the Volcano.
MBA: Why a volcano?
It sounds simplistic, but that was the picture that came into my head before I wrote that sample paragraph about a girl looking across a crater. I don’t know where it came from. It just came.
As far as I know, there are very few volcanos in Colorado, where I grew up. Still, I am well acquainted with the Rocky Mountains, and with the desert areas that lie to the West of them. I like them, and thought they might provide a very good setting for the made-up volcano that was to be a principal feature of my book.
MBA: How did you come up with the descriptions of the volcano? Is it based on a particular chain of volcanos?
Once I knew the book was going to feature a volcano, I began reading up on them. Because my volcano is a big, big one, I based it on the Ngorongoro Crater in Africa. For all other characteristics I used my imagination, plus a middling acquaintance with various volcanos I have visited in this country and elsewhere.
her father on the rim of a volcano so remote she has only met three people in
her life. They’ve built a simple but happy life for themselves, far from the
frontier perils of the world below—until a long-promised birthday trip to the
rough-and-tumble town of Badwater takes an ugly turn and brings the outside
world much too close. With it comes grave danger and unimaginable loss, but also
something Katie had barely dreamed possible for herself: a heart-pounding but
tender romance. Before it ends, four people are dead. None
Volcano is a tale of hidden gold, murder, and romance.
Katie is loyal and naïve, but she is also a tough and brave frontier woman: a
tracker and a hunter who does what it takes to make it through the day. The
simmering volcano is a powerful metaphor for the dangerous times in which she
lives, and the future she must face.