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‘Driftfeather on the Alaska Seas’

Posted: August 23, 2012 - 9:40am

Readers captivated by the adventures and mystery surrounding Mara Benson in “Feather From a Stranger” will be happy to know the suspense continues in “Driftfeather on the Alaska Seas, Ultimate Future of the Past — Another Alaskan Mystery,” the third book in this series by Homer author Marianne Schlegelmilch.

After establishing a base in Homer, on the shores of Kachemak Bay, Mara is determined to escape the tragedy and heartbreak that befell her in the second installment, “Two Tickets and a Feather.” She heads south to Juneau, immersing herself in a new life and a new identify in Alaska’s capital city. However, Benson soon discovers that a change in location won’t erase the unseen powers that seem to guide — and threaten — her happiness, as well as her life.

Anyone familiar with Southeast Alaska’s rain forests, its towering mountains that drop steeply to the shore, the blend of Juneau’s bustling legislative energy and the quiet beauty of myriad bays and channels, will be drawn to the latest of the Feather mysteries.

It brings to seven the books Schlegelmilch has authored. In addition to this three-volume series, she also has written “Raven’s Light: A story of Alaska’s White Raven,” “Gaston’s Crow’s Nest,” “Coho Waterboy” and “SoloFlite.” And with the last turning of the page of “Driftfeather on the Alaska Seas,” readers can breathe a sigh of relief that the series is far from finished.

“Book four, untitled, is under way,” Schlegelmilch told the Homer News. “I have six chapters written.”

The author isn’t giving away any clues about what mysteries and adventures are to come. Nor is she about to disclose where the excitement will take place. That is up to her characters to decide and readers to discover.

“I would be the last one to know if the action will shift back to Homer,” said Schlegelmilch. “I can tell you that it starts in Juneau and Hoonah. I never know what I’m going to write until I write it. I do not work with an outline, but I do write a reverse outline so I can keep track of the plot as I write it.”

Whatever the formula Schlegelmilch is using, judging by the feedback she’s receiving, it’s working.

“This weekend in Hope, I was told by a well-established Alaskan writer that I have a very good reputation ‘out there,’ and that she has heard of me before,” said Schlegelmilch, adding she also is aware of a fan base — men, as well as women — in Canada and the Lower 48 “... and just yesterday someone from Wasilla emailed that their friends from Willow are anxious to attend my next book signing to meet me and buy some books.” Schlegelmilch also has heard of readers who eagerly await her books and read “each chapter slowly so as to savor every minute.”

If it’s true that family is the harshest judge, Schlegelmilch also has scored high in that arena as well.

“Even my own sister said that she couldn’t believe I was her sister as she read my books,” said Schlegelmilch.

In addition to offering enjoyable reading, Schlegelmilch’s writings also have been used by Kersten Christianson of Alaska Women Speak to develop a high school literature course, and her books have appeared in class projects around the state.

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