I drew upon several sources for the gold mine as depicted in The Men in the Trees. One that is actually referenced in the is the Lost Dutchman Mine located in the Superstition Mountains (shown here) outside Phoenix, Arizona. Born and raised in Arizona, this was a legend I heard frequently and it always intrigued me how such a lucrative venture could disappear without a trace. I was also impressed by the legend of Colossal Cave, a popular tourist attraction located outside Tucson. The cave wasn’t a mine, but according to the stories it still contains a fortune in stolen gold hidden in 1884. Treasure seekers still hunt for both of these gold stashes, still without success.
The Men in the Trees is my second young adult novel and is based on some of my experiences living in Oregon. The plot is heavily influenced by my personal interest in nature and cryptozoology, or the investigation of previously unknown or legendary animals.
Are the creatures in ThE BOOK based on BIGFOOT?
Yes and no. Obviously, a story about a mysterious race of creatures hiding in the vast wilderness of the Pacific Northwest has a very Bigfoot-feel to it. That being said, the animals featured in the book are not intended to be Bigfoot. They are actually an amalgam of different cryptids from around the world, including the Yeti, the Yeren and the Alma. But because I also wanted my cryptids to have a sense of culture and community, I actually based those details on Neanderthals, a hominid race which occupied the world alongside our own for a very long time. If you want to learn more about the legendary Bigfoot-like creatures from around the world, click here.