My business card identifies me as "Historian and Novelist." I've published four nonfiction books in my field of U.S. history and four novels, three set in 18th-century New Mexico and the fourth (and most recent) set in San Francisco in the 1950s. Now I'm at a crossroads. Do I return to nonfiction or try to write another novel? My nonfiction books have had much larger sales and seem to have a lot of staying power. I still hear now and then from people who've just read A Scattered People, a book published in 1985. But the novels have been fun to write, and I'm much more likely to be surprised by phrases, scenes, and plots that come to mind as I write them. At age eighty I question whether I have the time and energy to do the eight or more years of intensive research required for a book-length historical study. The thing that keeps me from fussing too much about that fact is that each of my novels has had a strong historical setting for which I've enjoyed bringing my skills in historical research to bear. So, it sounds as though I'm strongly drawn to writing another novel. Now all I need is a time, place, and plot and a first line to set the whole thing in motion.