Judgment Fire is the sixth in the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series. Tempe was inspired by three women. The first, a resident deputy in the mountain area where I live who I interviewed for the newspaper. She told me about the difficulties she experienced as a female deputy.
On a ride-along with a female police officer, from three a.m. to six a.m. she received no calls. During this time, as we were patrolling the dark streets, she poured her heart out to me about the difficulties of being the only female officer in that department, and the problems she faced being a single mother of a young son.
When I met a young Native American artist who grew up on our local reservation, I knew she was going to be the model for my Tempe and she is who I see when I’m writing. And yes, she has read my books. I’ve only used this young woman’s looks, nothing else.
Tempe didn’t grow up on the reservation and in the first book doesn’t know much about her heritage. In each of the following novels, she learns more and more about her ancestry, including the spiritual side. Her husband, Hutch, is a Christian preacher, and believes she’s jeopardizing her soul when she participates in anything supernatural.
In Judgment Fire, I wanted Tempe to recognize why she hasn’t embraced the fact that she’s an Indian during her younger years. Of course there’s a murder, and it’s during the investigation that repressed memories of her high school years come to the forefront.
Over the years, in the area where I live, the creation of a casino has drastically changed the lives of the Indians who live on and off the reservation. Of course, prejudice rears its ugly head at times, but the atmosphere has definitely improved.
Though many of the books in the series refer to or have scenes on a reservation, though there is resemblance to the reservation near my home, the one in my novels is not real nor is the tribe I’m writing about. I do research, of course, but I want all my readers to realize I’m writing fiction. Even so, one of my most treasured compliments from a reader who is an Indian who called me to tell me he’d read one of the Tempe books, Deadly Omen, which centers on a murder at a Pow Wow. He said, "I wanted to let you know you got it right."
Author of Judgment Fire
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