"Red Dog chasing, Jackalope..."
It was supposed to be another novella, around the length of Seven Wild Sisters, but by the time I turned it in, this visit with the musical Dillard twins had become a 60,000 word novel. It's crammed full of some of the things I love the best—music, mythic visitors, and the Sonoran Desert; was written to a soundtrack of loping guitars and Mariachi horns; and features characters that I so fell in love with, I never wanted the book to end.
If you have half as much fun reading it as I did researching and writing it, I'll be content.
Further information on the Tachyon edition of Medicine Road can be found at:
Publishers Weekly, March 29/04:
Canadian author de Lint and illustrator Vess make good medicine in this whimsical collaboration of words and images starring those rambunctious red-haired Dillard twins, Laurel and Bess, mentioned in 2002's Seven Wild Sisters and now stage center in their own short novel. Musicians Bess and Laurel have exchanged the green Northeast for the desert Southwest for their first road tour, playing their rockabilly music and having fun. Enter two unhappy Native American spirits, Jim Changing Dog and Alice Corn Hair, who've been charged by Coyote Woman to find soul mates in two weeks or lose their ability to shift into their cherished "five-fingered" human form. Soon the two sisters become key players in an unfolding melodrama involving the true love quest. Alice has already found her mate in Thomas, an aging artist, but Jim, a roving red-haired rascal, is uncertain he can ever fall in love until he tumbles for Bess after the twins' Tucson performance. When he begins to woo her, complications threaten to doom poor Jim to life as a red dog. Laurel then decides to awaken her animal self in order to help Bess learn the value of "connecting with the animal spirits inside." The mythic magic inevitable in all of De Lint's best fantasies marks the spirited conclusion.
Booklist, April 2004:
Coyote Woman gives a red dog and a jackalope the chance to enrich their lives by enabling them to assume human shape. They have 100 years to find mates who love them unconditionally, or neither gets to keep the gift. Although Alice Corn Hair has found her true love, Jim Changing Dog hasn't been able to commit to one woman, and there's less than a month left for him to find his soul mate. Enter twins Laurel and Bess Dillard, two of de Lint's Seven Wild Sisters (2002), who are touring the Southwest playing old-timey music and selling CDs. In Tucson they meet Jim, who falls for Bess. De Lint adroitly and believably meshes the world we live in and the spirit world, and his lyrical descriptions of desert and canyon take us directly into the ambience of the Southwest, adding much to the charm of this first-in-a-series short novel that is already well-laced with humor, romance, and Native American mythology and nicely complemented by World Fantasy Award-winner Charles Vess' black-and-white illustrations.