Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Returning to My Old, Abandoned Blog with The House of Frozen Dreams, Set in an Old, Abandoned Homestead

This is definitely a curl-up-with-by-the-fire kind of book.

HELLO...? Hello...? hello...? It's kind of cold and dusty in here. I've been gone a long time, off in my writing cave, working on a novel that takes place in Alaska. The House of Frozen Dreams will be out tomorrow, New Year's Day, in the UK. (It won't be available in the US until next January 2016, under the title All the Winters After.)

This is a story about a young Russian woman who fled her Old Believer village and has been hiding in an abandoned homestead for a decade -- alone and unseen -- and the man who returns home after twenty years to finally face the tragedy that drove him away.

Who are the Old Believers, you may ask, and why has this woman been hiding? How did she survive? What drove this man away for so long? Why the heck is he returning now? These are all good questions, but I won't be giving any answers away here. We authors must remain coy, you know.

I will tell you this: The House of Frozen Dreams (All the Winters After) is a contemporary family drama and an outsiders' love story that explores isolation and connection, mystery and danger, grief, guilt, and the magnetic pull of a place. I've been working on it for several years, and first began thinking of it way back in 1996. So yes. I'm very excited to finally be able to see it take its first step out into the world.

As you know if you've read this post, I have a long and deep-rooted love for Alaska. Some might call it an obsession. One of the best things about being a writer is that I can write about my obsessions, I can excavate them deeply and fully and call it work. I've worked hard on this novel. But it was work that, in a way, allowed me to experience my younger self's dream of moving north, my own frozen dream, if you will. It also renewed my respect for those people who followed their dream to live in Alaska, and especially the original homesteaders who pioneered the Kenai Peninsula and beyond.

Fortunately for me, research called for another visit to Homer, Alaska, which, with a bit of poetic license, became the fictional town of Caboose.

We stayed in this lovely cabin on the Kilcher homestead acreage.
All in the name of research.

We also visited the original homestead, kept as a living museum on the property.
Inspiration around every corner.

I sincerely hope readers enjoy this story and are inspired by it as much as I was while researching and writing it. I still feel very attached to Kache, Nadia, Lettie, Snag, and Gilly, and of course, Leo the dog. What a dog. If you happen to venture into their world, please say hello for me.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year, full of good living and good reading.