David L. Smith is Emeritus Professor of Communication Arts and former Director of the Television Center at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Academically, his focus was the anthropology of visual communication and mass media. Prior to his academic appointment, he enjoyed a twenty-year career in broadcast television as an Emmy award-winning documentary cinematographer and television producer.
He has been a student of Mesoamerican cultures with an emphasis on the ancient and contemporary Maya since 1967. His master’s degree in communication emphasized anthropology and archaeology. He maintains several databases on the ancient Maya, attends conferences and conducts research at sites featured in the novels.
Perspective On Writing
Something wonderful happens when we go deeper into the study of a particular culture. After decades of researching and organizing information from the fields of anthropology, archaeology, ethnography and epigraphy I began to experience the culture in my imagination. Every day. It became so potently familiar, I felt like I’d entered their world and taken on a second identity.
The guideline I set for myself in writing The Path Of The Jaguar series, was that every scene and situation had to pass the test of plausibility. The historical information had to be accurate, based on the latest scholarly investigations, and the characterizations needed to be reasonable and representative of the times and patterns of ancient Maya thought customs and behavior. As much as possible, in all three stories, I wanted to immerse readers in the jungle environments, values and mindset of the ancients, to depict them not as the “mysterious” Maya, but as real people confronting universal human challenges.