Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Inspiration of Alaska

I was on a trip to Alaska over the past two weeks. 

Yes, I had Internet access so I was able to post my Killer Hobbies blogs.  I also did a lot of other things relating to writing, researching... and promoting.

 The first part of the trip included a cruise.  I was able to give a talk onboard about How to Write a Novel You’re Passionate About.  I had quite a few attendees--some of whom I learned later were hoping to learn more about writing and selling nonfiction.  I did get some excellent comments and questions that led me to believe people enjoyed my workshop.  In addition, I sold some books in the ship’s boutique.  The one that did best was, unsurprisingly, my Harlequin Nocturne entitled Alaskan Wolf!

 In ports, in addition to the delightful time I had sightseeing, I visited bookstores, signed copies of my books that they carried, talked to personnel and gave them bookmarks, and had a really delightful time.

And then there was the part of the trip that involved research.  Early on, I came up with a different twist for an idea I’d already been working on... one that now involves Alaska.  I admit that all travel inspires me, but Alaska seems to inspire me most.  I’ve been on four Alaskan cruises now, and have had two books published with Alaskan settings:  Alaskan Wolf, which I already mentioned, and one of my earliest published novels, a time-travel romance titled The Ballad of Jack O’Dair.
Some of the places I visited that seemed especially inspirational to me included Denali National Park.  The fact that we saw a lot of wildlife--three grizzly bear families plus one, lazy lone male bear; moose; caribou; and birds including ravens and magpies--didn’t hurt.  With my love for canines, I was also hoping to see some wolves.  I did check with some park rangers and learned about the seven wolf packs in the park, and that, a few days earlier, some visitors had seen a few wolves in the areas I visited.  Unfortunately, though, I didn’t see any.

Then there were the humpback whales--including their amazing bubble netting near the cruise ship--and Dall’s porpoises and stellar sea lions.

 One of my favorite things was a visit to Husky Homestead, where Alaskan huskies are raised for the Iditarod.  There, we got to help socialize puppies by hugging them, as well as hearing about how the dogs are raised and trained.  The first pup I got to hold was one vocal, active guy who enjoyed chewing my hair and licking my face.  We also saw several other facilities where Iditarod dogs are raised. 

There were also presentations on the ship by a naturalist, and the first female Iditarod winner, Libby Riddles, additionally gave a talk onboard.  Both were also authors who sold and autographed their books.  So were some other people I met, mostly involved with the Iditarod.

In all, it was a fantastic trip, both for my enjoyment and my writing.  I’m ready to take another Alaskan cruise soon--although not too soon.  I don’t want to taste an Alaskan winter!

How about you--have you traveled anyplace recently that inspired you?


Jane Emaus said...

It sounds like you had a great time. I just spent about a week up in the mountains of California, which is always a great place for getting ideas.

Linda O. Johnston said...

I think getting away from one's usual haunts can always lead to new ideas, Janie.

Betty Hechtman said...

You trip sounds great, Linda. Nice how you gave a talk, signed books and did research.