In November 1979, while tied to the Old Sub Dock at Dutch Harbor, I read Ken Follett’s recently released novel, Triple, a spy thriller loosely based on 1968 Mossad operation dubbed “Operation Plumbat” … when I completed the novel, I threw it across the cabin of the F/V Guppy, my boat, and said to myself, I can tell a better tale than that; for I felt that Follett had never been to sea, and that his narrative lacked authenticity, shorthand for “being the writing of a tourist.” And without any literary background (and without knowing how to type), I began a novel on the manual portable typewriter we had aboard the vessel.
I figured I could write a novel before it was time to return to fishing halibut … six years later, I received a contract for Shelikof. The novel was listed as a book in print in 1986, but it wasn’t released by that first publisher because of a change of ownership, with the new owner—Alaska Pacific University—publishing no fiction.
English was my poorest subject in high school: I never consider writing as a vocation. I began Willamette University, Salem, Oregon, as a 16-year-old math major on an honors scholarship. My father was already deceased; my mother committed suicide in October. And I was declared an emancipated minor by the Marion County Circuit Court. I was free to do whatever I wanted, and I transferred to Oregon Tech, Klamath Falls, where I entered the Small Arms Technology [Gunsmithing] program. I married at eighteen; opened a gunshop when twenty. Our first daughter was born when I was twenty-one.
Then came 1972, and being drafted into the Body of Christ—and there is no more appropriate word for what happened than “drafted.”
Seven years later—after having relocated from the Oregon Coast to first Kenai, Alaska, then selling a chainsaw-outboard business just off K-Beach Road, buying a boat, fishing halibut out of Kodiak, then Dutch—I began writing for a reason that really wasn’t the reason. I had no foreknowledge that I would be called to reread prophecy in January 2002. But in the years between 1979 and the end of 2001, I published fishing articles for various outdoor magazines, poems, essays, novellas, and novels, without making any significant amount of money doing so. I actually supported my writing by carving totemic sculpture.
After a traffic accident in 1984, I was left to rear three daughters alone. When it came time for them to go to college, I had no money and no ability to assist them other than to return to the university myself, with them living with me in married student housing … my first degree is my M.F.A. in Creative Writing from University of Alaska Fairbanks, awarded in 1995. I’m ABD for my doctorate in English.
Some of what I have written has been well received.
Most of my secular writing is listed under either “Books” or “Short Works.” I don’t have the means to read 5¼ inch discs or even older discs from a Panasonic word processor; so those works will disappear into the flotsam of history. But from what is here listed, a person can judge for him or herself what I wrote before being called to reread prophecy.