The Last Frontier

Today’s guest is Deborah Dee Harper, a writer from TennesseeHarper (2) who graduated from Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild where Misstep was a finalist in the 2009 Operation First Novel competition.  Recently, she moved to Eagle River, Alaska.  Read her post here and I’m sure you’ll want to grab one of her books.

Moving to the Last Frontier

My oldest daughter, her five-year-old daughter, and I recently made the 4,061 mile move from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to Eagle River, Alaska, which was viewed as ridiculous by most of our family members (and probably a few of the neighbors). Can’t say as I blame them. Yes, it was a drastic move, but also one we did not take lightly. We’d lived on Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage (ten miles south of Eagle River) from 2008 through 2012, so we were familiar with the vicinity, the weather, geography, and cost of living of the Last Frontier (not to be confused with William Shatner’s Final Frontier). It wasn’t unplanned by any stretch of the imagination. We thought long and hard about it, and in the end, decided to take the plunge.

Our reasons were many and varied. We love the wild, pristine, natural setting of Alaska. We look forward to watching bears, moose, eagles, foxes, wolves, beavers, and porcupines cross our paths (some of those more dangerous ones would be from the safety of our car), and love the magnificence of the scenery up here. The mountains, ocean, waterfalls, rivers, glaciers, lakes, streams, and unending forests are awe-inspiring. Yes, there are towns and cities like any other state, and to be honest, it’s getting harder every day to distinguish Anchorage (which, in my opinion, was once about fifty years behind the rest of the U.S. when it came to shopping, restaurants, etc.) from any city of the same size in the lower 48. But once you leave those towns and cities, you enter a wild paradise of natural wonders.

One of the reasons I was open to moving here was that it no longer matters where in the world a writer lives. The internet has made writing from anywhere possible. In the pre-internet years (remember those?), a writer’s proximity to the publishing meccas of the country was important. Snail mail made submitting an arduous process of writing, editing, finalizing, compiling the submissions packet, targeting your publishers, putting it in the mail, and then … waiting. And waiting. It could take a month, six months, a year. And even after waiting all that time, there was absolutely no guarantee 1.) they even got it, 2.) the person to whom it was addressed hadn’t left or died, 3.) it hadn’t been inadvertently tossed away, or 4.) it would be an acceptance. The internet and relatively instant submission process has certainly made a difference in that regard. But just as importantly, now that most of the civilized world is connected in one way or another to the internet, a writer can work from anywhere as long as he/she can reach that internet connection.

That’s important to me and to other writers who want to write from places that inspire them. Alaska does that for me. Whether or not we choose to stay in Alaska for a year, ten years, or longer, it’s important to me to know I can live where I want and still do what I enjoy—writing humorous and inspirational books.

If you’ve had any “adventurous” moves, tell us about them in a comment.  Thanks.

10 thoughts on “The Last Frontier

  1. Your move to Alaska is fascinating and tempting in the area of “wish I was brave enough or still young enough to do that.” In our younger years, we moved to South Lake Tahoe, a resort area and five plus hours from ‘home.’ so I understand the gesture if not the extremes.
    Luck with your books in future. Guess the Internet will always be with us for good or bad. Blessings.

  2. Wow, Dac, Barrow?! I’ve never been there, and frankly, don’t know if I’d go even if it were offered free of charge. That must be an entirely different world, as you say, and I salute your courage to go there. It seems so extreme, so “to the ends of the earth”! And yes, I agree that the publishing/writing profession is changing faster than I can keep up with it. There are SO many good books out there, and yes, many of them are self-published. I wonder where we’ll be in ten years 🙂 Thanks so much for commenting!

    • My wife and I went to Barrow – and we found it a most interesting place – possibly the most memorable place in Alaska. Not the most beautiful by a long shot. But fascinating. Make a point to visit it – but I suggest July. You’ll enjoy it. (At least, we certainly did.)

      • Jim, I never thought of it that way. I’m sure it would be a fascinating place to visit, but I get chills at the thought of being even farther away from my loved ones than I already am. Silly, I know. I imagine July would be a good time–travel is easier, well, maybe “possible” is the word!–for one thing, and summertime in Alaska is really beautiful. Thanks for the tip 🙂

  3. That’s an adventurous move, indeed, Deborah. Yea! You’ll certainly have something new to write about. My only contact with Alaska was brief but colorful. On my second return from Vietnam, our our aircraft landed at Anchorage to refuel. They herded all of us out of the aircraft and into the terminal during the refueling. It was December and we were all wearing khakis, most of us with short-sleved shirts. So they gave each of us a blanket, and you can believe we wrapped ourselves up good. It seemed to occur to everyone that our blankets made us look like Indians, there were a lot of jokes about Indians invading the territory, and some of the troops broke out in warwhoops and improvised war dances. This went on for the better part of an hour, and then they herded us back into the aircraft as our ordinary khaki selves for the flight to Travis AFB in California. As I said, my Alaska adventure was short but colorful. Congrats on your move, and I hope you and yours make out like burglars in a Blue Bell ice cream plant. –Looking forward to your next book.

    • Donn, I laughed out loud when I read your post! I can just the bunch of you dancing and whooping 🙂 This has been an adventure so far, and I imagine it will continue to be for as long as we’re here. It’s a beautiful place and I’m constantly reminded of God’s faith in creating such beauty, even though most of it will never be seen with a human’s eye. Thanks for commenting, my friend.

  4. I envy you, Deb! I fell in love with Alaska during my one trip to the Anchorage area. It’s absolutely gorgeous!
    My only “adventurous” move was after college when I moved from WI to Houston, TX where I knew no one. Never intended to spend the rest of my life here, but Texas is where God planted me.

    • Mary, we’re living near Anchorage and five years ago, lived on the Air Force base there. We loved Alaska then and we love it now! It’s a beautiful place, full of adventure around most every corner. Thanks so much for commenting!

  5. Alaska would be quite a shock for me, if I had to live there. I’ve been to Barrow, years ago, and found it to be an entirely different world.
    My impression is, the writing profession is evolving right under my feet. I’m watching friends self-publish good books with nice covers and about the same amount of publicity you’d get from a small press.
    What next?

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