Corrales couple puts heads together for books

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on May 12, 2013 in Rat News | Subscribe

A Corrales couple put their heads together to write a book in 1979, and now they have more than 2 million copies of some 70 books, and counting, to their names.

David and Aimée Thurlo have written romantic suspense, romance, action-adventure and mystery novels, plus educational books — many together and some separately. Aimée does the dialogue and character development, while David handles action and plot lines.

“We put our talents together, and together we make a pretty good writer,” David said.

Their latest romantic suspense book, “A Time of Change,” is available at most book stores, with signed copies at Bookworks on Rio Grande Boulevard NW in Albuquerque.

The story tells of a young Navajo woman who’s an apprentice medicine woman and assistant manager at a trading post. When her employer is murdered, she and the man’s estranged son have to put aside old differences to solve the crime.

“It’s not your routine romantic suspense,” Aimée said. “It’s about a family of people who work together at a trading post. Family is not always defined by blood.”

On top of “A Time of Change,” the couple has three more books scheduled to be released within the next nine months. They’re particularly proud of their Ella Clah police procedural series, of which “Ghost Medicine,” due out in November, is the 17th book.

The Thurlos’ books have been translated into different languages, and sometimes converted to graphic novels, in more than 18 countries.

When their journey in print started, David was teaching at Taylor Middle School and Aimée was struggling with asthma so debilitating that emergency room visits were frequent and colds put her in bed for weeks.

“I had to do something, because David was a teacher and I was … nothing,” she said.

As “a reason to take up oxygen,” Aimée started writing a novel. When she “wrote herself into a corner,” David said, he helped.

“Actually I was more a pain in the butt than anything else,” he said.

When David reached his 25-year mark teaching, he retired to spend time with his wife. They’ve been earning a living through writing since 1997.

Aimée enjoys romance, but David likes action. To be able to write together, they worked on romantic suspense novels and later made the jump into mystery.

David grew up in the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, so they often write about Navajo characters.

When they were writing “Black Mesa,” a Harlequin romance, they needed help portraying the Navajo and Pueblo cultures involved. Aimée called novelist Tony Hillerman.

Not only did he help find people to provide information, but Hillerman also asked for a manuscript. The Thurlos have framed his hand-written complimentary comments to their publisher.

“He was a class act,” Aimée said of the late Hillerman.

Now, Aimée lives a normal life with the help of steroid inhalers, and the Thurlos never lack for a writing contract.

“The problem with writing, though, is that real life passes you by,” Aimée said. “It’s so all-consuming.”

The Thurlos write every day with no vacations. It’s too hard to leave a story and start it again, David explained.

They never have a shortage of ideas, either. David spoke of getting ideas at 3 a.m., although they don’t always sound good in the morning.

“We take notes when we’re driving, everywhere,” he said.

The two write separately, with conferences at meals and other times as needed.

“When we need stuff, the community here has really stepped up,” Aimée said.

For example, camels play a major role in “Falcon’s Run,” but Aimée thought her chances of seeing the animals close up were nil. However, Corrales resident and former state senator Steve Komadina learned that Aimée wanted to meet camels and introduced her to the two he owns.

Readers from around the world have sent the Thurlos gifts. David said a woman in England knitted Aimée a sweater and a reader in Florida sent them a welcome sign picturing a white rat because of their fondness for the pet rats they once had, to name just two.

It’s nice to know they’ve touched people in places they’ll probably never visit, Aimée said.

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