A Whole Different Ride

en: Dog sled near Fort Clark. Watercolor by Ma...

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For my first novel, I wanted to tell a gritty, black & white story about growing up in the bush in Alaska and mushing sled dogs through all of the wild places of the Last Frontier–an eerie echo of mine and my older brother Laird’s life as young boys growing up on the Yentna River c. 1979-1989.

I was constantly aware during the creative process that this story was primarily a boy’s tale, a coming of age story in the tradition of Mark Twain, Jack London & C. McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses; ultimately I wanted to hand it off to middle schools and have it be appropriate for students & adults alike. Though it did indeed end up being quite gritty, and even rather dark in some places, a dog mushing ghost story of sorts, it ultimately grew into a story about becoming an unstoppable force, about following your dreams no matter what forces might stand in the way, and I’ve been very proud to receive feedback from kids and their teachers reflecting my success in this endeavor.

Throughout the narrative, rolling like a quiet, cold river, is my fundamental appreciation for the thin veil that separates all of us from the primitive wild that is just waiting beyond the reach of our headlights.

My next novel, currently in development, is not a dog mushing story. It shares similar values–a young “hero” at the cusp of manhood, a solemn love of the outdoors and its tapestry of colors, sights, sounds…and feelings. Horses, dogs. Mastodons.

It also reveals a side of my character as a writer that was barely hinted at in Ballad of the Northland.

The Book of TenAct I: Company of Wolves is nearing completion, and it is going to be a whole different kind of ride.

Thanks for tuning in–more to follow….

Sword image courtesy of thehaca
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2 Responses to “A Whole Different Ride”

  1. I’m excited to hear more of this “Company of Wolves”.

    • Hi Clay-

      Just plug in “the book of ten” into the blog’s search box, and every story that comes up (there will be quite a few of them) will have something to do with the subject–lots of excerpts.


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