January 12, 2014

Alaska- Home of Sean E. Thomas On and Off Since 1955

I have lived in live in Eagle River a small suburb of Anchorage since 1980 (and from 1960 to 1970). From either Eagle River or Anchorage, one can be deep in the wilderness in only a few minutes’ drive. Within yards of any of Alaska’s highways are heavy forests and clear unpolluted lakes, rivers, and creeks loaded with fish.

My state is rich in history, minerals and oil, diverse native cultures, mountains, vast wilderness where man has never set foot, and lots mystery—missing planes, missing people and very few roads. Over the years, Alaska has had several serial killers. And Alaska affords vast wilderness to hide the bodies. One killer was a local baker and business man, Robert Hansen, who kidnapped prostitutes, held them captive, tortured, raped and sexually assaulted his victims then took them to the Alaskan bush and to hunt them down. One of his victims escaped and was the reason he was finally caught. Nicholas Cage came to Alaska this last fall and filmed a movie, Frozen Ground, based on Robert Hansen and his capture. That film is out now from Amazon.

My background hasn’t always in writing. I graduated from Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University) in 1970 with a Bachelors of Arts in chemistry and a minor in mathematics. I went to the University of Idaho chemistry graduate school on a NDEA fellowship for two years. While at the school, I met my wife Doris Urbahn who was a journalism student. Before I left, I received a commission as an Army officer from ROTC. I went in to Army Air Defense and worked in research and develop on lasers and laser weapon systems. After several years, I became homesick for Alaska. So I traded in my green suit for a gray one and went to work for the Army as a civilian where I had to write lots. I used to joke that I wrote fiction for the Army which soon became creative fiction then science fiction and later creative fantasy.  My writing ranged from regulations to documenting requests for resources and the like.

In the early nineties, I wrote several nonfiction articles but found that unsatisfying. The writing bug had bit me late in life and I wanted to write fiction. I took several creative writing and script writing courses, joined
several writers groups and started writing mystery novels. My writing kept improving and I outgrew my writers groups.

What really helped with my writing was a screen writing course taught at the University of Alaska, Anchorage by Kim Rich who wrote Johnny’s Girl, a story about her mafia father. She has also written numerous screen plays. From the course, I finally understood how stories were put together following the Greek tradition. I had four books in the hopper which I rewrote based on that format. They were about an Alaska state trooper tracking down criminals. I finally published them between 2002 and 2004: Dark Project, Dark Soul, Dark Shaman and Dark Gold.

From 1998 through 2003, I had been diagnosed and was living with congestive heart failure with atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart beat). The handful of medicines I took each day reversed the congestive heart failure but the irregular heart beat remained. So, doctors at the Alaska Heart Institute performed and ablation therapy that repaired my heart. However, the procedure and numerous cardioversions caused me to lose eight months of short term memory and my ability to write, strings sentences together. It actually took three years to get back my writing ability back.

In 2006, I retired from Army civil service as a management/financial analyst with 33 years. It was around that time, I started to have a dream, a nightmare about a Roman Legion who had merged with Athabascans. Tons of gold were hidden with the ancient weapons and Roman armor. I had to get the story down on paper to stop the nightmares. So my Alaska state trooper Robert Sable emerged again in a new, different mystery novel, Lost Legion. Other Robert Sable Mystery novels quickly followed: Stalker, Silent Killer, Alaska Dutchman, Deadly Rites and Frozen Treasure. Whiskey Creek Press published Frozen Treasure June 2013. Lost Legion and Alaska Dutchman have won awards from Alaska Professional Communications.

Now, Whiskey Creek Press has picked up my first four novels for conversion to electronic formats and hard copy. Dark Gold came out in December from Whiskey Creek Press in e-format. Before republication, I revised the novels to remove the new “author-it is”—rambling dialog and description. Paperback/hard copies will be out later. Synopses of my mysteries can be found at my website and blog.  http://www.seanethomas.com

Here's a couple of links to interviews with Sean E. Thomas:


KTUU CH 2 NBC Interview 26 Dec 2012


Interview with the Chugiak Eagle River Alaska Star
(all information provided by author)



15 comments:

Amy Reade said...

Hi, Sean,
Thanks for the post. Sounds like you have a rich setting from which to mine stories, and it also sounds like your personal history makes for lots of interesting writing, too. I'd love to visit Alaska someday!

Jacqueline Seewald said...

I always find books set in Alaska to be fascinating. As Amy observes, it's a rich setting. I also hope to visit one day!

Sean E Thomas said...

Hi Amy,
Up with insomnia. Definitely come to Alaska. The best time is from May through mid June. After that the weather goes to heck.
Sean

LKF said...

Alaska always fascinated me, but I hate winter. : ) So i took it off of my list of possible places to live. Your post is great, thanks for sharing.
Lynda

Crystal Benedict said...

Sounds like a great place to get some get material for books. I always think Alaska looks so pretty. I would love to visit someday :)

Sarah J. McNeal said...

Alaska is the most interesting of places. I've never been there, but I'm addicted to watching "Alaska the Last Frontier". I know they have summer, but I see it as the place of eternal winter. Stories about Alaska really draw my attention.
I wish you all the best, Sean.

jrlindermuth said...

Nice to learn more about your background, Sean. Alaska seems a fascinating place, but too cold for my liking.

Mary Deal said...

As a person who does not do well in cooler weather, I'm still aware of much that Alaska has to offer. Your books including what Alaska has to offer incites my interest both in Alaska and your books. Great covers too.

Fiona McGier said...

I'd love to camp up in Alaska someday. Our goal once all of the kids are out of college, is to do a lot of traveling around the country. Alaska is one state I'd love to take a cruise around, and do some camping. Husband would love the fishing, and I love pine trees!

Sean E Thomas said...

Thanks for all the great comments. Anchorage,Alaska in the summer gets as high as 75 degrees. In the winters, it's nominally 20 degs and sometimes can get as high as 40/45 degs While in Fairbanks, temps range from minus 70 degs in the winter and as high as a 100. Weather's great around March through Sept with the first snow. In summer you can count on 22 hours of daylight and two hours of dusk

William Kendall said...

Your writing ideas sound fascinating, Sean!

I haven't been to Alaska yet, but I'm yearning to go.

Sean E Thomas said...

Several of my ideas come from dreams and nightmares. I have a hundred plot lines but I keep coming up with more ideas and plot lines. Too many plots so little time.... };-)

Sean E Thomas said...

My fave guidance:

William Safire, "Great Rules of Writing"

Do not put statements in the negative form.
And don't start sentences with a conjunction.
If you reread your work, you will find on rereading that a
great deal of repetition can be avoided by rereading and editing.
Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.
Unqualified superlatives are the worst of all.
De-accession euphemisms.
If any word is improper at the end of a sentence, a linking verb is.
Avoid trendy locutions that sound flaky.
Last, but not least, avoid cliches like the plague.
~

Sean E Thomas said...

Lately, I've been having insomnia and a up at O'dark 30. This winter, it's starts getting light close to 10 a.m. Been road blocked with my 11th novel~1/2 way through.

Sean E Thomas said...

Annette:

Thank you for your support and with the blog..... };-)

SE