Where do you get all your ideas?
The idea fairy.
What are your absolutely essential, can’t-do-without writing aids?
1.) A telescoping backscratcher, for those itches I can’t reach mid-chapter.
2.) Peppermints, for that late-night energy boost during the downhill gallop at the end of the book.
3.) Photos of my mom and dad watching me work.
What else do you do besides write?
I read other people’s books, I watch movies, I have marathon telephone conversations with friends, I knit, I bead, I garden, I walk on the beach, I travel.
Do you cook?
I eat, therefore I cook. Store-bought bread was too expensive in Bush Alaska when I was growing up, so Mom made bread from scratch and I grew up knowing the theraputive effects of kneading dough. I love experimenting with bread recipes, and one of my life goals is to attend a Baguette 101 class in France.
What is the worst job you ever had?
Sorting salmon roe. There were three grades, the sac intact, the sac partially broken, the sac destroyed and the eggs all over the place. The first fetched the best price from Japanese buyers, to whom saviar is a delicacy. The sorters stood on a metal grate dressed in rain gear and rubber boots in front of a conveyor belt, picking through the roe. Your hands and feet froze from the cold water used to wash the roe and your back ached from stooping over the belt, and your shift lasted as long as the tenders were delivering salmon from the upper Cook Inlet setnet sites, anywhere from four to twenty hours. Salary was minimum wage.
I prefer writing books.