If the name Anne Montgomery seems familiar to anyone it could be that she has had quite the career. The place many might remember her name from is her time on ESPN’s Sportscenter being one of the first woman anchors. She has worked for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns as a studio host as well.
She now has turned to writing and is also a teacher. Another interesting fact is that she has a thing for zebra stripes. What do I mean, well she referees High School Football games. So now that you have a brief background here are those questions on her book The Magician from Musa Publishing.
Question 1: What inspired you to write The Magician?
I was commissioned to write a magazine article about ancient ballcourts. People in Central and South America were playing a ballgame when Columbus arrived, and he was fascinated by the contest, which resembled modern-day ice hockey or basketball. While visiting a northern Arizona ruinthat had a ballcourt, the archeologist I was interviewing pointed up the hillside and said, “That’s where The Magician was buried.” I later wrote a magazine article about the man they call The Magician, in which I was tasked with uncovering where he might have come from, since he was different from the people who buried him in a fabulous tomb 900 years ago. The research entailed learning about pottery and weapons and trade routes and textiles, the ancestors of the Hopi, the art of pueblo building, ancient farming practices, and – believe it or not – sword swallowing. The reporter in me loved the research.
Question 2: Is there any significance to the name names of your main characters?
Kate Butler is my alter ego. My surname is Butler. (A TV station made me change my name because I anchored with another woman who had the last name Butler, which, of course, wasn’t her real name either.) My first name comes from Latin and means “grace,” and this is one of those cosmic ironies. I have bad feet, and while I’ve done pretty well at sports where I don’t have to run – swimming, skiing, ice skating – I have a tendency to trip and fall over cracks in the sidewalk. In my early years, this resulted in a lot of family eye rolling. My mother was often heard to remark that she wished she’d called me Kate instead of Anne.
Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your memories?
The present day story of The Magician is pretty much true. Kate struggles to get the story done in exactly the same way I did. Kate learned and grew along the way, and so did I.
Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?
I hated to read when I was a kid. I now know that I am a bit dyslexic, which made school and reading difficult. Back then I was called stupid and lazy, which made me resent most anything with words. Even when I was in college, my mother would correct any letters I wrote home – yes, way back when we put actual stamps on mail – and she would return them with all of my mistakes marked in red pen. Books held no allure.
I recently got an e-mail from a woman who was my best friend when I was growing up which said, “Who would have ever thought you would be a writer.” She read constantly. I didn’t read a book for pleasure until I was 18. It was The Once and Future King by T.H. White. It remains one of my favorites.
Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?
The Magician has only been out a couple of months, so I’m still waiting. Patiently.
Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?
Um…it’s an e-book. So I have nothing to feel accept the screen of my Kindle.
Question 7: Do you continue to write?
I am working on a novel based on the polygamous towns of Colorado City, Arizona and Hildale, Utah, which together are called Short Creek. Warren Jeffs is still running the community from prison. I have visited the area – pretending that I had no idea where I was – and interviewed people that have been involved with the cult members. It’s all pretty awful. I have to put the book away sometimes, because what’s happening up there is so depressing. I’m telling the story through the eyes of a young girl and doing my best to give the child and the readers hope.
Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?
First, I want the readers to understand that human beings haven’t changed all that much over the centuries. We all want to be accepted for who we are. We want love and security.
I also want the readers to realize that we need to put an end to archeological looting all over the world. I’ll let the archeologist in my story, Dr. Jerrod Crane, explain: “Once you’ve moved an artifact from its setting, you’ve destroyed its sense of time and place, something you can never get back. Dig up a pot and drop it on the surface, and we’ve lost any perspective of its significance historically. So what you have is a pretty piece with no meaning.”
Finally, I’d like historians to admit that our beliefs about the way man populated the earth need to be updated. Let’s look into those gaps in the historical record and the apparent anomalies with open minds.
Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?
Kate will become comfortable without being on television. The girl has a massive ego. (I should know.) She will learn that a job is what we do, not who we are.
Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?
Ryan Pickard is my boyfriend. (Yes, a really silly word, for someone my age.) We have been together 20 years. As it says in the dedication, he loves history as much as I do and we often do verbal battle in regard to historical issues, making never to be paid dollar bets on the outcome. We are polar opposites in some things – like religion and politics – still we laugh and argue and never get bored with each other. He has also been a great sport about accompanying me on my research trips. He is adored by dogs and little children and is an exemplary chef. And we both love football and scuba diving. What more could a girl ask for?
The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?
This one is tough. I have been fortunate in that I have traveled extensively. That said, I especially love Australia. Ryan and I attended the Australian Mineral Symposium in Perth in 2005. I’m a rock collector, so we went mining with a group of Aussi “rockers” and brought back about 75 pounds of rocks in our suitcases. It was fabulous. They made us feel like family. So, I think I’d like to go back.