Their Stories Matter/Authors Kiss, with Sara Troy and her guest Charlie Sheldon, on air from October 19th
“I believe it was the telling of stories that made us modern humans, because a story can carry lessons and history one generation to the next. I believe something happened around 70-100,000 years ago when two different types of ancient hominids bred and their offspring’s brains were wired differently, enabling those offspring to imagine and tell stories, recounting of the past, imaginings of the future, rules to live by. This, I believe, is what happened and from which flowed art, burial of the dead, religion, and culture – the first origins of ancient truth, legends, and myth, carried among us still. It was the telling of stories that made us human, and is still. My Strong Heart Series, in some small way, imagines how this might have happened, and how people today could have made such a discovery.”
Every great scientific discovery began as a heretical, outrageous idea dismissed and condemned by all. Those ideas that today are considered foolish, even dangerous, may turn out to be true, given evidence, often much evidence, to counter the huge power of the status quo. I write fiction about these issues, often with a touch of magic realism, even a breath of fantasy, for only in those realms can the reader accept and truly imagine what today might be considered impossible.
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I have always been a writer, always a hiker, trained as a wildlife biologist, living in the Pacific Northwest, a husband, father, grandfather, and friend. In my work life I was a graduate student teacher, a commercial fisherman, a house painter, a fisheries consultant, a treasure hunter, then a planner, a construction manager, a project manager, even an executive for various seaports – for 28 years. During my years working for seaports I was involved with several difficult environmental cleanups, including Superfund sites, and for many years I worked with local tribes negotiating fishing agreements between their salmon fishermen and harbor operations in Seattle. After I retired from port work at age 65 in 2012 I went back to sea as a merchant sailor, container ships and military reserve vessels, as a watch stander and able bodied seaman, for four years, then quit for good to write these books about Olympic National Park, the Gulf of Alaska, a certain ornery young girl, and ancient history – I call it the Strong Heart Series.
For several years I performed maritime poetry at the Fisher Poets festival in Oregon and similar events near Seattle.
During my work life I spent more time than I care to admit before groups of people speaking, presenting, often before hostile crowds; I was a certified teacher for a private company teaching decision making and problem analysis for over a decade; and after retirement have conducted book readings and discussions at bookstores and retirement communities throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Before writing my latest series of books I did years of research into human origins, archeology, geology, ice ages, and climate change to develop the foundation for my Strong Heart series of books, which ask the question: could the ancient legends of most First peoples of North America that they have always been here – always – be true? Along the way I have learned much about what we know, and how much more we do not know, plus a healthy dose of aversion to zealotry and people who are absolutely convinced they know what is best for the rest of us.
I’d love to discuss how one’s personal experiences become the foundation for what they write about, and the relationship between one’s training and values and what emerges from the point of the pen. In my Strong Heart series, in addition to exploring ancient legends and the origins of “modern humans” about 70000 years ago, I also explore the struggle between development and preservation, the dangers of zealotry, coming of age, and what makes a family and a home. Along the way there is much I can share about hiking, backpacking, the Pacific Northwest and Olympic National Park, seafaring, and survival. I am also a water dowser – true – with some stories about that, too.
Went to Yale, UMass for an MS in wildlife biology, then went to sea as a commercial fisherman. Spent 30 years working for ports, then back to sea at 65 as a merchant sailor. Came ashore for good in my 70th year in 2016 to flog my tales and write. I live in Tacoma Washington, hike the Olympics whenever I can, cook for my wife, and row on Puget Sound in my Adirondack guide boat.
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Free Giveaway: I will send you a full ebook file of my first tale in the series, Strong Heart, for you to read on your Kindle, phone or Ipad if you EMAIL ME AT
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