The truth is Sacrifice began in the Santa Fe Public Library. At a table piled high with books. Last light of evening faded outside the window.
All books begin with other books. Cormac McCarthy takes the idea a few steps further: “The ugly fact is books are made out of books. The novel depends for its life on the novels that have been written.” So any book that doesn’t actually being in a library begins under the shadow of a bookshelf. If not, it begins in some person’s memory of some book they once read. Books do not spring forth fully formed. They are the bastard child of someone else’s scribbling.
It took me a long time to understand that ideas don’t belong to us. Stories are living things with free will. Even our own stories don’t belong to us. They are born out of stories that happened long before we stumbled down the dirt path. They are the property of the people who carry them with us once we are gone. The longer they carry our stories the longer our shadows darken this world. They are transient. They move through the daylight and the darkness like itinerant preachers—always searching for a new congregant. They stop in random towns to share their woes. Sometimes they pick up some new something on their way out the door and bring it with them to the next town.
At this point I had no idea Sacrifice would ever be a book. Sitting in the Santa Fe Public Library the story I conceived was for a movie.
I spent three weeks hunched over a stack of books, folios, and artist renderings of Los Hermanos Penitente. During those three weeks of research I produced a two-page treatment for a movie. That’s when everything changed for the first time.