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I was raised on a fish tender in southcentral Alaska, and I knew there had to be a warmer, drier job out there somewhere.
I was born in Anchorage, Alaska on March 27, 1952, and raised on a 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. When I wasn’t seasick I wrote stories about NORMAL children who lived on SHORE, and made my mother read them.
In 1964, the Great Alaskan Earthquake occurred during my twelfth birthday party. In 1969 I graduated from high school, and put myself through college working as an egg grader, bookkeeper and expediter for Whitney-Fidalgo Seafoods in Anchorage.
I received a B.A. in journalism from the University of Alaska in 1973. After graduation I spent one more summer knee-deep in humpies and blew everything I earned on a four-month backpacking trip to Europe where I discovered English pubs, German beer and Irish men.
Fortuitously, upon my impoverished return home (I think I had something like twenty bucks and change in my pocket when I stepped off the plane) construction began again on the TransAlaska Pipeline, and answering to the call of the cash I worked for Alyeska Pipeline at Galbraith Lake and later for British Petroleum for six years at Prudhoe Bay. I made an obscene amount of money and went to Hawaii a lot.
In 1982 I turned 30. Was this what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, work on the Slope and party in Hawaii? Well…but no. I left the Slope for the last time on August 17, 1982 and enrolled in UAA’s MFA program, from which I graduated in 1985. My goal was to sell a book before I went broke and I just barely made it: Second Star was published by Ace Science Fiction in 1991. The first Kate Shugak novel, A Cold Day for Murder was published in 1992 and won an Edgar award in 1993.
There are now three Star Svensdotter novels, four Liam Campbell novels, twenty Kate Shugak novels, two thrillers set on USCG cutters, and the first in an historical trilogy featuring Marco Polo’s granddaughter traveling the Silk Road west, with the second due out in October 2014 and the third in April 2015.
Here’s a little video I had made the year Whisper to the Blood came out.