Current Project: Derby book
Status: Chugging along. Thesis is taking top priority.
I was recently asked by a writer I met at the RCRW Reader's Luncheon why I don't write archaeology books.
I hadn't really thought about it before. It's a good question though, I'm studying to be an archaeologist after all. It's certainly not because it lacks interest for me. It's not for a lack of ideas either, there are zillions of interesting cultures and artifacts that could be the basis for stories. So why don't I write about them? My reactionary answer was that I can't suspend my disbelief. I came across this when I tried to write a book with Greek and Egyptian mythology a few years ago. I was too wrapped up in the facts, or at least history as we know and expect it. I couldn't, and probably still can't, get myself to take a general idea, myth or artifact and twist things a bit for my own world building.
I think it's the same with archaeology. Let's say I want to write a story about an archaeological find in southern Italy, I don't think I'd be able to take liberties with what I've learned about the area. I'm too much in a box. Maybe it's because it is such a technical area. But there are cops who can write cop fiction and I'm writing a roller derby book. I don't know, analyzing this about myself is taking too much brain power. Maybe it just isn't meant to be in my fiction arsenal.
There have been a few ways I've been involved with archaeology fiction and it's been most enjoyable. I'm sure Eli has wanted to strangle me a few times with my responses to her archaeology questions. Over a year ago she wrote a proposal for a Central American archaeology book, which is currently out to publishers (I believe). We did a lot of brainstorming over what is believable for an archaeologist to do, what an archaeologist would actually be involved in, etc. It was a lot of fun, being able to think about someone else's book. I've enjoyed doing some recent brainstorming with Paty on an archaeology book as well.
Maybe someday things will fall into place and I'll be smart enough to learn how to suspend disbelief. I can watch CSI, why can't I write archaeology?!? Do you write what you know, either through hobbies or day job, or do you tend to write what you want to know more about?