First of all, I expect some to struggle a bit with the somewhat long narrative sequences in my stories. These are ingrained in me, part of my tradition. Folktales, mythology, mountain story telling, and classic old novels make up that tradition. Add to that the fact that my fields are history and literature and, well, you get the point. Readers today are used to fast action on both the screens before them and the pages that they read; however, my goal is to present an existential, slice of life realism. This goal lends itself to narrative for descriptive purposes and to reveal what is going on between the realistically spaced dramatic scenes. Life is not a bowl of cherries nor is it a constant action scene. I fill the boredom of life with the narrative of life that the reader needs to understand why the characters do what they do. The reader is lucky perhaps because these novels move well, are not oppressively long, and the narrative is informative. Action and drama in these stories are worth getting to, but they don't pop up on every page of fiction, because in life they aren't found around every street corner in reality. They're there; you just don't know when or where.
Realism enters into the discussion of the second introductory point about my fiction. It may not always be the case and in my current books is not always true, but often my villains are not well known to the protagonists, or even to any of his or her companions. If you have ever been the victim of crime, especially something violent like a mugging or home break in, how well did you know the criminal who did the crime? The heroic characters in my novels are most often dealing with strangers: a war type scenario such as the Indian wars of the American West, an outlaw gang or group of Native American warriors who have captured a victim, agents of an opposing government or political entity, etc. When it makes sense to round out an evil character or the character is important enough to know better, they are more well known to the characters and readers. Such is the case with Julian Jarvson in The Mountains, the Rivers, and the Plains, my modern novel.
As in our modern, daily lives, the threats and the threatening people are often unknown, perhaps most often unknown or not well known to us. That faceless threat, that shadowy figure who we know too little about and therefore are a little less prepared to deal with, is a reality of life. And that makes villains and life that much more scary and dramatic in reality and in a realistic fiction. It is the stuff of dramatic tension as in Rio de los Brazos de Dios when Jóhonaá, bound between trees in the night, watches the silhouette of the lumbering outlaw walk heavily toward her on a Texas plain after enjoying his dinner . . . the dark, faceless figure of a man who has held her captive for a month but barely spoken to her or revealed anything but his innate evil.