When Bitter Springs was first released and I was on a “virtual book tour,” I was asked a really fun question that gave me a little more time to play with one of my favorite characters, Hank Burnett.

Warning! If you haven’t read the book, spoilers abound.

Give us a to-do list for one of your characters.

Well, Hank is the sort of man who appreciates order, but also has a rather droll sense of humor.  Now that he and Renaldo have gotten to a place of ease out at Bitter Springs, I like to think his “to-do list” would go a little something like this… 

  1. Go hide Renaldo’s boots before he wakes up. He does have awful handsome feet, come to think of it.
  2. Stop in and tell Juana Maria good morning.
  3. Check and see if she needs anything. She don’t need to be lifting those heavy pans all the time.
  4. Take a breakfast plate back to Ren after washing up the rest for Juana Maria.
  5. (She did go to all the trouble of cooking something for me, after all.)
  6. Tell Ren where you hid his boots (after he earns it)
  7. Give Cecilia a good rub down
  8. Check Puerco’s back leg. He’s been favoring it.
  9. Sneak Paloma some of them prickly pear fruits.
  10. Catch that squeak in the kitchen door hinge that Juana Maria mentioned last night at supper
  11. Remind Eduardo that it’s no trouble at all for little Pedro to come along with me while I work with the ladies and Puerco in the north corral
  12. Show Pedro how to whistle on a blade of grass
  13. Remind him not to make his mama crazy whistling all the durn time
  14. Hide Ren’s boots for teasing me about carrying Pedro all morning on my shoulders
  15. Make Ren earn his boots back
  16. Nap
  17. (With Ren)
  18. Make Ren go get some of them molasses cookies Juana Maria said she’d make me for fixing the kitchen door
  19. Tell Juana Maria thank you myself because Ren probably won’t let her know just how much I like her cooking, and it’s important
  20. Sneak Cecelia some of them prickly pear fruits she’s so fond of
  21. Help Hortensia fix the water pump out by her place
  22. Remind Eduardo that no, it’s no trouble at all
  23. Hide Ren’s boots for teasing me about being a sucker for all the ladies at Valle Verde
  24. Don’t let him earn his boots back because he ought to know better
  25. Well…. maybe he can earn them back if he keeps doing that one thing
  26. Make supper – that fatback and bean dish Ren’s partial to
  27. Spring a ‘warm summer night bedroll under the stars’ surprise on Ren just because
  28. Be grateful
  29. (Make sure Ren knows just how much)


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