… New motorcycle fiction, now live from your favorite book vendors.
And thanks again to Lisa Tilton for great cover art, and for indulging my whimsy on the back cover of the print book.
In the Notes and Acknowledgments at the back of Artemis in the Desert, I include this disclaimer:
The highways and most towns in Artemis in the Desert are real. Once upon a time, real people on real motorcycles followed this route and endured extraordinary, unseasonal weather and bad coffee. However, those real people were practical and suffered no similar degree of human angst in their travels. The characters and activities in this story are wholly fictional and do not represent real events or real people, living or dead.
A long time ago, I did indeed ride the same highways and experienced the same weather as described in this new Rain City story. When I returned home, I transcribed details about the journey: distances, bad coffee, hail, and highlights from Stephen R. Whitney’s Field Guide to the Grand Canyon. A year later, I revisited the Four Corners during a month’s journey camping in the desert. The experience on that adventure amplified a story that I’d begun to imagine while freezing and pounded by hail while riding a BMW R100RT (the true Spandau ballet).
While on that first interminably wet journey, I read Jane Austen’s Persuasion for the first time. (I was late to Austen and Regency fiction in general.) With fork lightning circling the empty desert highways we rode, I imagined a story of two individuals from opposite worlds who are forced to meet again a decade later. These characters have revisited my imagination repeatedly since that journey.
Artemis in the Desert springs from the weather events of that original journey, and revisits the conceit that Jane Austen introduced: how can two people who were once intimate overcome all the misunderstandings and cultural barriers that once separated them?
… while drowning in unseasonal rains on back-country highways?