by Linda O. Johnston
I love to write. And so does Lark O. Jensen.
Well, okay, that’s still me. I’ve taken my first pseudonym for my new Alaska Untamed mystery series. The first book, Bear Witness, is a May 2022 release.
Why Alaska Untamed? Well, I live in Los Angeles but have been privileged to take several Alaskan cruises over time. The most recent one—which was before the pandemic started—inspired me to write about the wildlife and people who love them.
Of course, this is a mystery, so things go wrong…
Anyway, the real inspiration was when I took a boat tour in the waters in the area of Juneau, where the wonderful tour guides pointed out some amazing animals including seals and bears and eagles, as well as the glaciers and waters and shore areas. I asked questions, made notes, took pictures—and then had to include them in a mystery.
The protagonist is Stacie Calder. She is a born naturalist who has come to Alaska because of the remarkable wildlife there. During the seasons where the weather will allow it, she gives tours on a tour boat in the waters off Juneau, and she brings her delightful husky Sasha along.
Anyway, Stacie winds up dealing with some somewhat nasty passengers who’ve come along to research what happens on the boat because they want to start competing companies to the one Stacie works for and loves. One day, one of them disappears—and Sasha’s wonderful sense of smell discovers his body the next day on the shore of an inlet they visited. The authorities determine he was murdered, and Stacie has to get involved with figuring out who the killer is because some of her favorite people, including the captain of her boat, and even herself, are considered suspects.
It was fun creating my own tour boat and the tours given on it, especially since they were somewhat modeled on the real thing. And despite the fact I wasn’t there viewing all the fantastic wildlife again, I got to live it again in my mind as I wrote about all Stacie saw and talked about and pointed out to the passengers on her tours.
I’m now working on the second book in the series, which is also fun. Thanks initially to the pandemic, I haven’t had an opportunity yet to go back and see the wildlife in person as research, but hope I’ll get to do so someday.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue to visit vicariously by way of Lark and Stacie. Oh, and Sasha too.
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