I write romantic suspense as Kris Bock, but I began my writing career with children’s books, written under the name Chris Eboch.
After college, I spent a summer traveling through Mexico and Central America. I loved visiting the Mayan sites and learning about their history. The experience inspired my first novel, The Well of Sacrifice, a Middle Grade adventure/drama set in ninth-century Mayan times. I wrote the book for young people, because that’s when I fell in love with historical fiction and books that provide a glimpse into other cultures, such as Island of the Blue Dolphins and Julie of the Wolves.
Some people ask why the Maya “disappeared.” They didn’t; they’re still an active culture throughout Mesoamerica. But they did abandon the large cities they built centuries ago, going back to living in small villages and on farms.
Many people think the Maya civilization collapsed because they damaged the environment. Too many people lived in the cities, and the farmers couldn’t grow enough food. The soil got worse because it never had a chance to rest between planting. They used wood for building, cooking, and burning limestone to make plaster to coat their temples. Much of the jungles were cut down, so people could no longer find fruit and animals. And so they abandoned many of their great cities, long before the Spanish invaded.
One thing that intrigues me about history is how some of the lessons of the past resonate today. In The Well of Sacrifice, I explored some of the reasons the Mayan civilization collapsed. But I also showed how one person could have caused change.
Eveningstar and the other characters are totally fictional, but many other things in the book are real. I never studied the Maya in school. I have college degrees in Photography and Professional Writing and Publishing. But once you know how to research, you can write about anything.
I studied history and archeology books to learn about the daily life of the Maya – what they ate and wore, their gods, their buildings, and the land around them. I was also living in New York City when I wrote the book, and I visited the amazing American Museum of Natural History to view their Mayan artifacts.
I’ll admit, my main motive for reading and writing historical fiction is because I enjoy it. But we also can and should learn from the past. Historical fiction is a fun way to do that.
Visit my website for downloadable lesson plans teachers and homeschooling parents can use with the Well of Sacrifice.
Chris Eboch lives in New Mexico, where she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and watching the sunset from her patio. Her home office looks out on nature, complete with distracting wildlife such as roadrunners and foxes. Her BFA in photography is used mainly to show Facebook friends how lovely the Southwest is.
Chris’s middle grade novels include The Eyes of Pharaoh, a mystery in ancient Egypt; The Well of Sacrifice, a Mayan adventure; The Genie’s Gift, a middle eastern fantasy; and the Haunted series, which starts with The Ghost on the Stairs. Learn more at https://chriseboch.com/ or her Amazon page.
Chris writes romantic suspense novels for adults as Kris Bock. The Mad Monk’s Treasure, “Smart romance with an ‘Indiana Jones’ feel,” is currently free at all e-book retailers.