St Martins Minotaur logoMy publisher wanted me to do a brief q&a for their website, so I decided to have a little fun with it.

Where do you get all your ideas?

The idea fairy.

What are your absolutely essential, can’t-do-without writing aids?

1.) A telescoping backscratcher, for those itches I can’t reach mid-chapter.
2.) Peppermints, for that late-night energy boost during the downhill gallop at the end of the book.
3.) Photos of my mom and dad watching me work.

What else do you do besides write?

I read other people’s books, I watch movies, I have marathon telephone conversations with friends, I knit, I bead, I garden, I walk on the beach, I travel.

Do you cook?

I eat, therefore I cook. Store-bought bread was too expensive in Bush Alaska when I was growing up, so Mom made bread from scratch and I grew up knowing the theraputive effects of kneading dough. I love experimenting with bread recipes, and one of my life goals is to attend a Baguette 101 class in France.

What is the worst job you ever had?

Sorting salmon roe. There were three grades, the sac intact, the sac partially broken, the sac destroyed and the eggs all over the place. The first fetched the best price from Japanese buyers, to whom saviar is a delicacy. The sorters stood on a metal grate dressed in rain gear and rubber boots in front of a conveyor belt, picking through the roe. Your hands and feet froze from the cold water used to wash the roe and your back ached from stooping over the belt, and your shift lasted as long as the tenders were delivering salmon from the upper Cook Inlet setnet sites, anywhere from four to twenty hours. Salary was minimum wage.

I prefer writing books.


kate shugak series (abridged)And making videos about them. Click here to see the Kate Shugak series (abridged) on YouTube, and catch up on your Kateology before Whisper to the Blood comes out. Twenty days and counting! I just got the finish copy and Minotaur did a fabulous job on the package, it’s absolutely gorgeous.


Chatter Kate Shugak

Dana View All →

Author and founder of Storyknife.org.

4 Comments Leave a comment

  1. Hi, Dana. Sorry it’s been awhile since I commented, I got sucked into MobileRead, since I’m in the market for an Ebook Reader. Let me tell you, extracting oneself out of that place is like getting gum out of your hair.
    Anyway – the current raging debate is about whether digital publishing (ebooks) is cheaper than traditional books (paper).
    So that made me curious. If you write using a computer and word processor, obviously the books are in a digital format to begin with. At what stage does the book end up on paper?

  2. I don’t know. No, I’m not being cute, I really don’t know. I send the book in as a Word .doc attached to an email and a year later a physical book shows up on my doorstep courtesy of UPS.

  3. *laughing*…ok, no problem, Dana. So you don’t have to print it out yourself, and then send it in. You just send the digital copy to the publisher, and they do the rest of it. There’s an interesting article reprinted over at mobileread.com about a German publisher lamenting that lowering the prices of ebooks would kill the industry. The general consensus at the forums is that that’s crazy; other than startup costs, the overhead for digital editions should be very low. If you have time, go check it out.

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