Going behind the scenes of Immortal Redemption.
I have a degree in archaeology, which means that I spent a few years working on digs. While most of them were in southern Ontario checking for evidence of archaeological remains before a new subdivision or road went through, I also worked for a summer in Jordan. The chief osteologist there was incredible—smart, dedicated and wry. As well as archaeological sites, she also brought her skills to excavate mass graves. She told me some of her stories and while I didn’t use them in Immortal Redemption, her passion for why she undertook such terrible work always stayed with me.
I worked in grave sites myself, but they were all at least 100 years old. It’s very different, although there is always a sense of awe and respect when working with human remains, no matter how many years ago they lived.
Then, about three years ago, I went to a talk by the speaker of a non-profit that did similar work to Civica. It was horrifying but what struck me most was how positive he was. Yes, he said, it was devastating to have to excavate the graves, but he was bringing peace to families who could finally bring their loved ones back to bury. They could truly grieve. It was hard and necessary work.
When I was writing Immortal Redemption, I know that Cal would be interested in archaeology (Mesoamerican, of course) but that he would need to be able to do more to help himself make amends for what he perceived as his past crimes. Civica came from this—his way of giving back. Iliana’s reasons for becoming a forensic anthropologist (my dream job) remained more opaque in the book, but revolve around her need to find answers.