Q. When did you start writing?

A. After the death of my first husband, I started a journal as a way to cope. Not long after, in college, I wrote fiction and poetry. I was reluctant to share any of those early drafts. One instructor waved a hand dismissively and said to me, “If you’re going to bleed, you’re never going to write.” The words knocked the sidewalk out from under me. Self-protective shyness about my commitment to writing was no longer an option.

Q. What was the inspiration for The Last Skywatchers?

A. When I was a child in the West San Fernando Valley, as my mom would drive through the canyons and the coastal hills on our treks to the beach, she would point to a swollen rock-strewn hillside and say, “That’s an ancient burial mound!”

We would hike in the ragged sandstone hills and fearlessly explore caves as we searched for rock art, something my friends’ moms were not likely to do. I caught her passion for history, and went beyond into the combined realm of archaeology and visual astronomy.

My late mother was a docent at Los Encinos Historic Adobe in the early 1970s. Like docents the world around, she shared her knowledge and passionate interest to further public understanding of cultural and historical collections. In her case, Southern California history and archaeology were an endless fascination.

Not surprisingly, The Last Skywatchers was inspired by the lives of the people who once inhabited the land surrounding Los Encinos Historic Adobe.