Cathleen Armstrong is the award-winning author of Welcome to Last Chance. Though she now lives in Orange County, California, her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives.
A message from Cathleen:
I grew up in New Mexico knowing two things were true: Any time you could spend reading was time well spent, and that one day I, too, wanted to write books. Both certainties presented problems. In the first instance, my parents and teachers felt that while reading was good, even wonderful, time must also be allotted to chores, homework, and even social interaction. Psssh. They never did convince me on that one.
The second difficulty was harder to get around. I knew I was supposed to write what I was familiar with, but my family had not cooperated in placing us someplace interesting. I thought if they had tried just a little harder, if my granddad had homesteaded in, oh, New York City, or my parents had taught school in, say, China, I would be loaded with fascinating things to write about. But as it was, we all lived in ordinary New Mexico, with its ordinary hundred mile vistas, ordinary thunderstorms boiling up on a hot summer afternoon and pounding the earth before they rumbled away at sunset. And ordinary people with names like Baca and Begay whose roots reached from hundreds to thousands of years into the pale, gravely soil. You can see my predicament.
The reading never stopped, but the writing was put on hold as I married my high school sweetheart, and moved with him first to Arizona and then to California. Our three children came, grew up, married and began families of their own with a speed that still makes my head spin.
Finally it is time to write, and I have long since realized that the last word that describes my home state is ordinary. Long ago it began to be known as The Land of Enchantment. I can’t wait to show you why.