How an essentially tropical gal like me ends up writing a novel set in Alaska is a story in itself. I hate the cold. I love the beach. My definition of an adventure is going to the zoo. How then did I muster the mojo—not to mention the confidence—to get hooked on Alaska?
I blame my children for starting all of this. They were the ones who insisted we travel to Alaska. They are the same pair who dragged me out to raft the Colorado River and forced me to learn how to ski, an inexplicably adventuresome duo, given that my husband and I prefer a kinder sort of travel.
To be fair, I’d been to Alaska before. We’d been on a comfortable, lovely cruise, where the park rangers announced the sights over the ship’s loudspeaker, narrating the passage. “On the port side, you’ll see a group of seals basking on the ice. On the starboard side, there’s a pod of whales bubble-net feeding in the sound.” It was wonderful, posh and relaxing and I my motto during that first cruise was see Alaska from your bed.
Fast-forward a few years, and all of the sudden my daughter was a park ranger and my son was volunteering at the Denali Kennels, caring for sled dogs as big as horses and as powerful as motorcycles. He lived in a nice, new tidy cabin with a dry sink. Hint. That means no running water. You fill in the blanks.
By then, we had learned that Alaska had a lot to offer. This tropical gal had acquired a few extra items of gear that made the rigors of the weather bearable. The fall had become my favorite season in Alaska, when the tourists are gone, the mosquitoes disappear, and Denali begins to peek out of the clouds that envelop the mountain through most of the summer. Most importantly, I’d been dazzled, surprised and seduced by the wildlife and the vast landscape that challenged my eyes, opened my mind and dared my imagination. Yeah. I was hooked.
Sure, I read, researched, googled and interviewed. But the truth about Alaska is that the place cannot be properly understood without the experience. It’s all about the feel. So off we went, to experience the magic, the most important research of all.
Traveling in Alaska is an education in itself. The main form of transportation away from the cities entails tiny single engine planes, mechanical mavericks that land wherever, however. For a woman who hates flying, those little planes? Terror.
But I learned to appreciate a place where there are no roads to your destination, no schedules but those you carve out of the weather by relying on the skills of strangers. And then it hit. I was a writer. I mean, really. How can a writer fall in love with Alaska and not write about the affair?
From my personal, life-transforming travels through Alaska, The Stranger, was born. The Stranger is the second book of my Wounded Warrior Series, following on the heels of my Amazon bestseller, The Asset. The Stranger features Summer Silva and Seth Erickson, fire and ice, a most unlikely pair. I like to say that fiery Summer’s character benefited from all of my Alaskan misadventures—believe me, there were plenty of those and they weren’t always pretty or dignified—while icy Seth is Alaska in the flesh.
As you can probably tell, I had a lot of fun researching The Stranger. It all made it into the story. So come along in the journey. I’m happy to share. You can visit Alaska from the comfort of your reader and laugh, cry, and feel along with Summer and Seth as they fight their demons and turn their lust into forever love. And if you fall in love with Alaska, well, believe me. I understand.