To say Las Cruces author Alan Riehl’s life poses questions is an understatement.
He supports his writing habit, or doesn’t, by working one day a week hosting a local quiz show.
Then there’s the writing. “The Treasure of Akkad,” his third book, is mystery, fiction and fantasy, set in faraway places he’s never visited. You can do that?
You’ll be able to ask him at Coas bookstore in Las Cruces on Saturday morning. He’ll be there to sign his new book. Copies of his previous two, “Angel Falls” and “Married Alive,” will also be available.
What’s Up quizzed Riehl with a short round of questions.
Q. First, what’s your day job?
I host a quiz show once a week. “Geeks Who Drink” is a national sponsored live quiz with locations in 13 states. The one I host takes place every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. at Dublin’s Street Pub in Las Cruces. I am the quizmaster and have been hosting it for over a year.
Q. You can support yourself doing that?
No, I can’t. My friend Joe has let me take one of his rooms free of charge. I get most of the groceries and pay for my own toothpaste and so forth. I took a leap of faith about a year ago. I couldn’t find a job and I realized if I was going to do anything productive it wouldn’t be working for anyone else. I am the epitome of the words “struggling artist.” I realize that in order to make this work, sacrifice, faith and the refusal to quit are tantamount to my success.
Q. The new book is set in Europe and especially the Middle East, particularly against the backdrop of the 2003 Baghdad Museum thefts. How was it researched?
I did it all online. I started a few years ago. I thought the federal government was going to take my computer away with all of the Iraq searches. I did extensive research on Iraq and Syria, as well as French foods and Italian locales.
Q. OK, the big one, do you think you can accurately portray distant lands with exclusively online research?
That is definitely the best question I’ve ever had as an author. I guess the best way to describe it is the way Michael Crichton, the author of “Jurassic Park,” beautifully put into words the process of creating a dinosaur through DNA. He had to fill in the missing DNA with his own imagination and theories. So the answer is YES!