In honor of Alaska Book Week, I have interviewed one of my favorite Alaskan authors, and a fellow member of AKRWA (the Alaska chapter of Romance Writers of America), DeNise Woodbury. I’ll post the interview here, followed by more information on her book Cotton Grass Lodge:
1. You write books with different settings and characters. How does a book idea come to you? Do you start a new story with the plot, characters, or another thing first?
So many of my ideas come as snippets of scenes. The ones that won’t leave me alone are developed into more and more and seldom end up where they began.
2. What led you to write Cotton Grass Lodge?
The character of the Shaman came to me—in another of those scenes. I couldn’t quite make him the main protagonist, but he fit beautifully into the book I eventually wrote.
3. You have a deep understanding of Alaska and Alaskans. What do you think is most unique about us and our home? What clichés do we tell about ourselves that aren’t always true?
Oh my. I fell in love with Alaska after coming here for ‘one year’—I found that leaving didn’t seem to be an option. Because I came as an older adult I relished the new and different and have never taken the place or the people for granted. I understand better than some because my experience traveling/living in the lower 48 gives me insight into what the people that stay here want and expect. I hope I understand why people endure and why some happily leave.
The cliche : The odds are good but the goods are odd.= We love to use it but gosh, I love those odd goods-and, I’d kinda like to think I’m a little odd-so I fit right in.
4. How do you find the writing community in Alaska?
Everyone I’ve met that writes, for the most part, has been kind and encouraging. Of course my soft spot is for the Alaska Chapter of RWA but there are many other authors who, like me are pounding their head on a keyboard trying to juggle life and find enough time to crank out another story.
5. What are you working on for your next project?
::rubs hands together::[tee-hee] I have a couple of ideas for books and lately they all end up in Alaska. Ya know, they say write what you know.
I have a story based loosely on a fishing community similar to Seward and I thought that Cotton Grass Lodge would be a stand alone book, but there is always winter in the Alaska Bush which makes for some interesting story telling.
Thanks for your time, DeNise.
Lynn, thank you so much for this opportunity; it was fun.
Here’s my review of Cotton Grass Lodge from Goodreads:
This witty, heartwarming romance shows contemporary Alaska in all its beauty and quirkiness. (I don’t rank by stars there, but would have given it a full five stars.)
This is the book’s blurb:
In a moment of anguish, Duncan Mahoney impulsively buys a rundown lodge in Alaska, on Cotton Grass Lake. With his business savvy, he figures he can turn it around quickly, make a profit, and get out, wallet intact. But the old owner won’t leave, the hired man is a drunk, and the staff is an abandoned single mother. Cargo pilot Hanna Reed thinks the city slicker will leave quickly and good riddance. She traded the Air Force and a bad marriage for a quiet life, good friends, and the pleasure of the open sky. Duncan is a distraction she doesn’t need, but he is so sexy she decides to enjoy him while he’s still around. As the season unfolds, Duncan and Hannah find themselves growing closer emotionally as well as physically. The magic of Cotton Grass Lake may heal broken hearts, but is it enough to keep them from breaking again?