Welcome to TRB’s Author Interview Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome Jon Budd, author of The Legend Of The Washo Gold.
About the author:
Jon Budd is an author, musician, and an archeologist. He is also known by his formal name, Jonathan Budd. He grew up in Northern New Mexico playing music and studying ancient Indian ruins. Jon started playing professionally for school dances when he was fourteen years old. By the time he was sixteen, he was performing in nightclubs. When he came of age, he lived and performed in Albuquerque, Houston, and Denver. It was in Denver where he began his university training in archeology. He moved to Los Angeles and recorded his original music album entitled, “Musical Ontology”. This album consists of ten original songs that Jon composed as well as a drum solo he performs. Jon wrote and produced all of the music. He sang all of the songs, played drums, keyboards, most of the guitars, as well as some of the bass guitar. There are some really talented musicians who also recorded on Jon’s album including Andy West (bass), Cornelius Bumpus (saxophone), and Steve Richards and Mike Richards on Guitars. This album is available as a compact disc album as well as individual song downloads at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jonathanbudd3. Jon now performs in and around Austin, Texas – the Live Music Capitol of the World!
You can reach him at:
Hello, Jon. Thank you for being here today.
Can you please tell my readers about your ambitions for your writing career?
I want to create something original that I can feel good about. I also want to entertain my readers and make them feel good.
Which writers inspire you?
I admire JRR Tolkien who wrote, “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings” because he took me to a faraway place. I also admire Richard Henry Dana Jr. who wrote, “Two Years before the Mast” because he revealed to me that good history is entertaining. Finally, I really admire Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) who wrote, “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn” because of his earthy and ingenious ways of weaving humor into a story.
Tell us about your book?
The title of my novel is, “The Legend of the Washo Gold”. It’s about Hank and Vince who are friends. They work together for the Forest Service near Lake Tahoe in California. Vince is an archeologist and Hank is a Native American Indian Hank is from a local tribe called, “the Washo”. They have an ancient, sacred, landmark known as “Cave Rock”. This place is located on the shore of beautiful Lake Tahoe. Precious tribal treasures are stored there. When one of Hank’s tribal elders learns that raiders have found their way into Cave Rock, he sends Hank down to San Francisco to retrieve what was stolen. Hank learns that there is a curse on Cave Rock and the strangers who have raided the cave may have set things in motion that could culminate in a terrible earthquake just like the one that destroyed San Francisco in 1906. Hank, Vince, and a War Party of Indians must travel to San Francisco and take back what was stolen from the cave before thousands of people perish or get injured from another devastating earthquake. This is their story.
How long did it take you to write it?
It took me twenty years to write this novel. I hope the next one, if there is one, will not take quite as long. I don’t think I have another twenty years.
Are you working on any other project(s) right now? If yes, what are they?
Artistically, this novel drained me. That’s the way it supposed to be isn’t it? I poured everything I had into it. It’s a little painful to think about what my next literary project may be. I’m sure there will be one and I have some ideas, but that’s what they are now, just ideas, nothing firm. However, I am returning to my musical writing and performing. My next artistic endeavor will be bringing forth more original musical compositions and performances.
Why have you chosen this genre?
This genre, Native American Historical Fiction, is what I know. I have a Master’s Degree in Anthropology specializing in Archeology. I have well over twenty-five years working as a professional archeology for the United States Forest Service and the State of Texas where I work now. I have studied Native American Indian culture, religion, and history since I was a boy growing up in New Mexico.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I didn’t consciously make any decision to become a writer. I just had an idea for what I thought would be a good, entertaining story, so I began to write it. I do remember though, a long time ago, while looking for a decent movie to rent at the local Blockbuster Video, saying to myself, “I could come up with a better story for a movie then what I see here”!
Why do you write?
I think that everyone has an artist inside them. I can’t draw, paint, or sculpt, so I express my personal artist through music and literature.
Where do your ideas come from?
I have a very active imagination. So active, that sometimes it gets me into trouble. I get ideas all the time and from all kinds of different sources. I can however, really act only on the ones that have some meaning for me. Only if I have strong feelings about things.
How do you prefer to write? On computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?
In my experience, writing is a long, painful experience. It’s like giving birth (I’m a man, so I can only guess). The only way that I know how to write is to use a computer keyboard. It’s much easier to edit that way. But, it’s still very difficult for me. I am looking forward to using new technology where you can speak into a microphone and your words are transferred into text.
What are your 5 favourite books and 5 favourite authors?
I have already listed three of my favorites above. Two other authors that I really like include Israel Finkelstein, “The Bible Unearthed” and Francesca Stavrakopoulou, “Land of Our Fathers: The Roles of Ancestor Veneration in Biblical Land Claims (The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies)”. However, these are very esoteric archeological books that debate the historicity of the Bible. I have a very odd sense of what’s entertaining to me in literature.
How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
I focus on the process and not the outcome. An artist may not have all control over what is ultimately produced. However, they do have control over how much they put into the process of creating. I schedule a time period every day where I write just as hard as I can. For example, I commit to writing just as hard as I can for one hour a day. If you do this every day regardless, in three months you will have a draft of your novel. If an artist commits to the process, amazing things happen over time.
What advice would you give to new aspiring authors?
Take the first step and just begin. Commit, commit, commit. Write as hard as you can for an hour a day. Keep track of the days you write and try to set and break records for consecutive days. Write for an hour about each one of your characters. Who are they? What are they like? Who do they remind you of? That will help you develop deep, rich, memorable characters. Don’t be afraid of failing. You are only beaten when you give up. Never give up. Network, network, network. You can never have too many friends.
Thank you, Jon, for all your interesting as well as deeply insightful answers!
About The Book:
To prevent a repeat of the Great 1906 San Francisco Earthquake, Hank, a modern day Native American Indian, overcomes his doubts about his tribe’s ancient religion and leads a war party to recover a cursed Indian treasure.
Succumbing to the genocide brought down upon them during the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush, the Washo Indians were teetering on the brink of extinction. With the help of a mysterious stranger, they devised an ingenious plan to survive. Many years later, when the secret of their survival is threatened, the tribe appoints a modern day warrior to lead a war party to San Francisco to recover stolen Indian treasure and secure the secret of the Washo Gold.
This novel enables the reader to experience the infamous 1849 California Gold Rush from the perspective of a tribe of Native American Indians who lived through it.
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