One of the things I miss most about living in Alaska is the light cycle. Whenever I tell people I lived in Anchorage for several years I get the same question: How did you stand the dark? The real answer is that everyone stands the dark because they know summer is coming and the dark will be pretty much banished. It all equals out.
But the truth is, I never had to “stand” the dark. I loved the weirdness of the shortest days of the year. I’ll never forget my first morning in Anchorage, looking out on a snowy December 2nd at 9:30 a.m. and seeing people at a bus stop, one person shoveling a sidewalk, and three more strolling casually along, as if it wasn’t pitch dark, snowing and illuminated by streetlamp. I was more astounded yet when, after the briefest showing of visible daylight, the night crept in around 2:30 p.m.
Truly weird. To an Outsider.
But I grew to love the short winter daylight. Not as much as the short summer moonlight, but the eleven dark months had their charm. And their usefulness. (Okay, so it wasn’t dark for eleven months. Eight maybe. It just seemed like eleven.) But I loved burrowing into my little condo from October to May and learning how to use the time and the sense of being in a cocoon to become more productive. It was in the long dark mornings and afternoons that I learned to write. I mean, what else was there to do besides put my nose to the grindstone and produce? Heck, I wrote three books during Alaskan winters. That was a dang good author apprenticeship!
And, there was summer. Glorious, 20-hour days of sunlight (when it wasn’t raining), and time for exploring, gathering information, doing research. I came up with multiple future plots during the stunning Alaskan summers. They are a dreamer’s paradise!
So here I sit, 15 latitudinal degrees, give or take, south of Alaska, and we have no such extreme cycles, but I could use one of them. It’s my unscientifically proven fact that there’s more time to work in Alaska than there is in Minnesota. I just sent in a rather ambitious proposal to my agent, who sent it to my editor, who has hinted that she loves it. But, if it’s accepted I’m warned—the books will need to be produced like that one recent famous movie: (The)Fast and Furious(ly). I’m not known for my fast and furious writing ability. I need fewer hours of daylight in which to waste time.
See why I need a hermit month in an Alaskan winter?
Of course, it could be I just need a little self-discipline.
But an Alaskan adventure is more fun to think about. Somebody would find me a nice little bat cave (not literally) in an Alaskan basement or cabin, wouldn’t she?
And, if I were to come tomorrow, maybe I could get some lessons in how to promote two books coming out right in a row. What the heck—might as well throw in another first world problem: how does one deal with back-to-back releases?
A problem to solve in another blog.
Meanwhile, I really do have two new books coming out back-to-back. I’ve even got the covers to show you! Whatcha think? As my editor said, “I’m not usually in favor of putting more clothing ON a cover model, but in these cases I think it’s well worth it.” And, I agree—I prefer leaving something to the imagination—and I can tell you, I’d definitely like to delve under these t-shirts and jean jackets. Guess what? The heroines in my two do more than delve . . .
Check ‘em out if you like: both books are available for pre-order! “Beauty and the Brit” releases September 2nd and “Good Guys Wear Black” on October 14th. I’ll figure out how to promote them in the next couple of weeks – but suggestions are welcome!
That’s it, since I can’t really wax any more poetic or dramatic on Alaskan daylight and moonlight. I’ll just end by saying—if one of you, my Alaskan buddies, finds me blinking in the dark on your front porch one night, you’ll know why.
--- Liz Selvig