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Marriage at the Cowboy's Demand
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J. Carson Black
Learn more about J. Carson...
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Tucson, Arizona, where I was born and raised, was a sleepy little desert town when I was a kid. I grew up exploring the desert on my Navajo pony, Cookie, who had a habit of throwing me off in the middle of nowhere and leaving me there. My mother is convinced I sustained a head injury from one of these falls and that’s why I became a writer.

My father was a schoolteacher who had the summers off (don’t think it was that good a deal; he didn’t get paid summers.) When I became an impressionable teenager, my mom decided it might be good to get me out of town and away from my pot-smoking, sex-having peers, and do something wholesome, like going on a road trip for two months. So my parents bought a camper, installed a toilet immediately, and we hit the road. Highlights included: Glacier National Park, the Black Hills, Custer’s monument, Crater Lake, The Mormon temple in Salt Lake City, Wall Drug, Mitchell’s Corn Palace, and Reptile Gardens. I gravitated to the little hole-in-the-walls–the farther off the main track it was, the more faded, rotted, dilapidated, sun-blistered and quaint, the better, as far as I was concerned. My biggest regret is I never got as far as Weekiwachee, City of Mermaids. Someday.

Those camping trips are the reason I put poor Laura on the road, so she can soak up all that cool atmosphere-YOU JUST MISSED CHIEF YELLOW HORSE’S TRADING POST - TURN BACK NEXT EXIT.

When I was fourteen, I was nearly abducted by a man driving an old car. He followed me across a desert and a whole subdivision until I found my friend’s mother, watering bushes in her front yard. I remember exactly what the car looked like預 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air sedan, orange over white. (The writer cropped up in me early, cataloging even moments of terror.) That scary old car makes an appearance in DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN. The girl in the book, Julie Marr, isn’t as lucky as I was.

Although I wrote stories and illustrated them from an early age, in high school, I was successful in Choir. So, being a malleable sort, I studied opera singing at the University of Arizona. I was what you’d call a Big Lyric. That’s important, the “big” part. Opera singers are notorious for worrying about the size of their voices, unless of course they are coloraturas. Coloraturas can sing really high and their voices are incredibly flexible. The rest of us have to be, ahem..well-endowed.

After failing miserably at opera singing (I hated late nights, cold weather, crowds, cities, flying, and suffered from stage fright) I came back to the desert and started writing my first book, a horror novel. It was published a long time ago without an advertising budget, and had about the same effect as dropping a rock down a manhole. In the intervening years, I have written more books, lots of magazine articles and worked as a writer for Raytheon Missile Systems ( We don’t like to call them missiles, we call them “threat deterrents.”) My favorite job was writing internet content for two-time Kentucky Derby winner Kent Desormeaux, producing articles like, “Golden Missile Scores a Direct Hit!” and “Fusaichi Who?”

Personal information: I have a husband, a mother, and four cats.

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Photo: J. Carson Black
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