June 19, 2021
— Why Alaska?
You’ve been asking that question. Why did I set WRONG ALIBI in Alaska?
Some reasons are obvious: Alaska is vast, deadly, with a wilderness where it’s easy to disappear. The state is populated by fascinating, eccentric characters; a great place for a woman unjustly convicted of murder to vanish, then return to seek justice and save her family.
The real question is — why not Alaska sooner?
When I was a kid in California, our neighbors and dear family friends moved to Alaska. In their letters (yes, the paper kind) they described the vastness of the horizons, the biting cold, the wildlife and awe-inspiring beauty. They lived through the Alaska earthquake in 1964, the largest earthquake recorded in the U.S. and the second largest earthquake ever recorded. Their home movies and stories of that day were terrifying and riveting and yes, you’re right, lot of the inspiration and material for VIRTUE FALLS came from their reminisces.
Every day, my family looked at the gifts Chet and Lillian sent from Alaska: a set of mugs and placemats done by Inuit artist Robert Mayokok, a woven basket, and for me, an Inuit doll. Even now, that doll sits on my desk and watches me as I write.
Chet left us early, but Lillian lived a long life, gathering friends and loving her ever-growing family, and once she knew your birthday, she remembered it forever. Once I called and asked how many birthdays she knew, and we figured her kids, grandkids, great grandkids and all the great-greats. She went through her address book and named friends and their kids and their grandkids, eight brothers and sisters and all their families, The Husband and I and our kids and… Before it was over, we figured she knew over 400 birthdays. But when I hung up I realized—we hadn’t included the people she knew who had passed on or all the friends she had ever known… Can you imagine how many birthdays she remembered? Only when she was in her nineties did she stop sending a birthday card to each and every one of us. Lillian made every one of us feel special.
When Lillian celebrated her 100th birthday, The Husband and I were there, part of the large group of loving friends and family exchanging reminisces and celebrating her amazing life. She was a marvelous cook who loved to entertain. On a regular basis, my family makes Lillian’s quick and easy cream cheese dip, and we remember her when we do. Food is a wonderful link to dear friends!
Lillian’s Easy Cream Cheese Dip
8 oz cream cheese, regular or reduced fat, softened
1/4 cup boiling water
2 beef bouillon cubes
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 scant teaspoon Spice Islands Beau Monde seasoning
Dissolve the beef bouillon cubes in the boiling water. Mix with the softened cream cheese (I use reduced fat), the Worcestershire sauce and the Beau Monde. You might start with a little less Beau Monde and adjust to your taste.
The dip is very salty so we don’t serve it with chips, we serve with a mixed raw veggie platter. We eat a lot of raw veggies that way. I hope you enjoy Lillian’s recipe as much as we do!
When she died, Lillian was almost 104 years old, and WRONG ALIBI is dedicated to her:
Thank you for friendship
Thank you for love
Thank you for wisdom
Thank you for Alaska
All God’s blessings on your new journey
Today, June 19 2021, my publisher is running a special one-day $2.99 eBook sale on WRONG ALIBI. If you haven’t bought the book yet, I hope you’ll try it; it is at heart a story about friends and family as they deal with trouble and danger in the heart of Alaska. If you’ve already read WRONG ALIBI, I hope you enjoy this letter’s insight and background, and maybe take a moment to make a recipe you treasure while you remember dear friends and times past.
New York Times bestselling author of
WRONG ALIBI new and out now!
“In the Alaskan wilderness,
the hunted can become the hunter.”
RIGHT MOTIVE is out now!
“Bigfoot and the three bears.”
P.S. This is an absolutely laden-with-events weekend; Juneteenth, Father’s Day and…yes…the summer solstice which occurs on Sunday at 8:31pm PT. So you know where The Husband and I will be early Sunday morning; out in our stone circle lighting a fire in the firepit, watching the sunrise and throwing bundles of herbs on the flames.
Here we have:
And a fun video of The Husband placing a bundle of lavender on the fire (hint: it flares.) (Scroll down to watch.)
Have a great holiday weekend, and happy reading!
“It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, but it is impossible to find it elsewhere.” — Agnes Reppelier