For most of my life, Las Vegas, Nevada, has been a footnote.
In 2001, I spent part of my fortieth birthday at Treasure Island and beat the slots — the nickel slots, mind you — for the only time. My twenty-dollar payout was enough to finance a buffet dinner and a cocktail and that was somewhere between splendid and sublime.
Nine years later, while traveling from my home in Helena, Montana, to my in-laws’ house in Mesa, Arizona, I purchased a new pick-up truck. I had scoured the four corners of the globe for a black Nissan Frontier with a manual transmission and found one on a lot in Vegas.
Thanks to my education-warrior-new-Masters-degree-packing wife, who starts a teaching position in Las Vegas this week, I am now a resident of the Silver State. As such, I hope to blaze new trails as a writer, a researcher, and a person who loves to learn and explore.
I know I did plenty of learning and exploring as a resident of Alabama. In my three years in the South, I immersed myself in the history, music, food, and culture of a different region and came away more educated. As I result, I was able to write more knowledgeably about Galveston and Chattanooga, the settings of two novels, and even places beyond Dixie that were suddenly within reach of a car.
Las Vegas presents even more opportunities. Located in the heart of the Southwest, it puts deserts, mountains, California, the Pacific coast, and nearly a dozen national parks in play. I look forward to setting at least a few future novels in some of these places.
In the meantime, I have a two-bedroom apartment to settle, a job market to test, and a vibrant city to explore. Inspiration awaits.