Author: Gerri Brightwell

The trouble with sequels

I have to confess that when I’ve just finished a novel, and done all of the work of getting it down onto the page, and revising it over and over, and editing it, and going through proofs, the question that confounds me is: So, are you writing a sequel? I’ve never written a sequel because…
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First, know yourself

Recently I sat down with Robert Hannon for an interview about my new novel, Turnback Ridge, and about the ideas that inspired it. What a pleasure it was to talk to someone about my journey to Alaska, life as an immigrant, and the craft of writing, and to get messages and calls from friends who…
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Photo by JR Harris on Unsplash

A Day in the Life

Somewhere around the middle of the semester, I set my undergraduate fiction writers a task: write 1-2 pages about someone engaged in a job you’ve never done. Make it feel very real–and to do that, you’ll have to do research. Every semester I get pages about doctors and archaeologists, baristas, cashiers, butchers, mortuary workers. Some…
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Viewing the world anew

This summer, I took two of my sons to a sporting event in the Netherlands–they won medals, we hung out with their team-mates and other parents then, when it was all over, we stayed on for a few days. I’m from Europe, and there’s something about going back that is like a balm: seeing tiny…
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At this time of year, light seems to flood back to Fairbanks: there’s daylight turning the bedroom grey before I get up, and daylight at the end of the day when I’ve been staring at my laptop for too long and need to take the dog for a walk. And yet: it can be cold…
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table, chair, desk-2587598.jpg

Sit and Write

At so many Q&As with writers, someone in the audience will lift their hand and ask a question along the lines of, “How to you write?” They want details–does the writer get up hellishly early and slog away at their keyboard for hours before sun up? Do they plan every scene in advance? Keep a…
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At my desk

I know writers who minimise distractions by using software to restrict their access to the internet, or turn their desks to face a blank wall, or shut themselves away in a room with little but their laptop and a chair. I can’t do that. When I’m thinking things over–who to steer a conversation in a…
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Alaska Quarterly Review reading

In 2016, I was lucky enough to have one of my short stories accepted by one of the premier literary journals in the US: Alaska Quarterly Review. The story went on to be included in The Best American Mystery Stories 2017 (which was an honour, and also something of a surprise as “Williamsville” is a…
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USS Fairbanks

For the last couple of days, the temperature up here in Interior Alaska has been close to forty below (which is one of few points of confluence for the centigrade and fahrenheit systems). On the radio this morning, the announcer read out the signs of frostbite and frostnip, and how to warm frozen flesh (not…
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Heavy snow on branch

It’s warmer than it should be in Fairbanks

Snow is sifting down, burdening spruces whose branches sag, covering up the tracks that Chase and I have made on our walks. A world new made. And yet, it’s warmer out than it should be—I overdressed to go out—and two thousand miles south and west of us in British Columbia, heavy rain has been was…
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