Hello from Alaska’s state capital – Juneau! I so enjoyed my short stay here, seeing old friends, making new ones, visiting with fellow authors, and soaking up some of the amazing history and culture here. A highlight of the trip was a whale watch cruise, organized by the delightful owners of Hearthside Books. As several of us Alaska writers shared our current projects and books, we sipped wine and watched as humpback whales rolled and leapt beside us.
I also had a morning on my own, so I explored the marble halls of the capitol building, strolled past the governor’s mansion, and walked around historic downtown with its totem poles and Gold Rush buildings. And then I rode the tram up the mountain. It was foggy and rainy, but beautiful all the same.
One of my favorite things about these Southeastern Alaskans is the way they embrace their weather. It’s one way you can separate the tourists from the locals – you might catch a visitor grumbling about the cool, rainy days. But locals respond: “Rainy? It’s just the way we like it!” You don’t see them huddling under umbrellas, and half the time they don’t even wear rain coats. It’s as if rain is as natural to them as air.
So I head back north with a newfound affection for this place and its artistic, hardy, welcoming people. I got some photos and, of course, a suitcase full of books that I picked up along the way. And most unexpectedly, I’ve gathered some fantastic material here, from the habits of rufous hummingbirds to the mapping of Alaska, as I continue work on my next novel, Shadows on the Wolverine. Thank you to naturalist Bob Armstrong ( www.naturebob.com) and Dee Longenbaugh of The Observatory.)
Most of all, thanks to Deb and Susan at Hearthside Books, everyone at Juneau Public Library, Maggie, Frank & Liz, MJ & Mike, and all the wonderful writers and readers I met on this visit. It was wonderful fun!