Anne Hillerman, New York Times best-selling author of Song of the Lion
Moderated by Ambassador Shirin Tahir-Kheli, Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins SAIS Foreign Policy Institute
April 27, 2017
Anne Hillerman has been honored and delighted to continue the mystery series created in 1970 by her father, Tony Hillerman. She debuted with Spider Woman’s Daughter, which follows the further adventures of the characters her father made famous, Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. She has just released her third book in the series, Song of the Lion, which became a New York Times bestseller. One of the inspirations for this work was her enthusiasm for creating a leading female character in the mystery genre. Hillerman also said that rescuing one of the characters, police officer Bernadette Manuelito, from relative obscurity and placing her into the leading role helped to make the series her own.
She shared key influences that developed her writing and imagination including her childhood – she grew up in a big family, in which reading and story writing was always encouraged and nurtured by her parents. Her research and visits to the places she writes about also inspire her books, which are located in around New Mexico and take the readers to various Native American reservations surrounding it. She also listed her mother and writer friends as important sources of artistic appraisal and encouragement, thanking them for their wise and gentle critique.