What comes to mind when you think of north Idaho? Is it fishing at Dawson Lake in Boundary County? Snow skiing at Schweitzer? Sailing on Lake Pend Oreille, or perhaps paddling the deep blue waters of Lake Coeur d Alene? Is it the pristine beauty of Priest River, and picking huckleberries in late summer? Maybe the rich heritage of the Coeur d Alene Indians or historic Cataldo Mission, the oldest standing building in Idaho - also known as the Mission of the Sacred Heart, founded by Jesuit priest, Father Pierre-Jean De Smet in 1848.
How about the Route of the Hiawatha Trail, the old Milwaukee Railroad line making its way through Wallace , now a popular mountain bicycle trail popular with locals and tourists, or Camp Sweyolakan, one of the oldest resident camps in the United States with nearly 300 wooded acres on the shores on Mica Bay, with one of the largest fleets of classic war canoes [for more about Sweyolakan, see my stories "Two if by Sea" IDAHO magazine, September 2012 and "Paddles Aweigh - Around the Lake in Ten Days" IDAHO magazine, December 2013].
North Idaho has long been touted for its beautiful rivers and lakes, rich forested land and abundant wild life - elk, deer, moose; Red Tail hawks and the majestic Eagle soaring across a smog free sky.
I have travelled in Mexico, throughout Europe, western Canada and many parts of the United States, and still find north Idaho to be among the most magnificent landscapes I've ever seen. What some might call, 'God's Country'. But there is another hallmark here, too. Something worth noting. It is a fertile environment for the creative mind, the daydreamer, the artist, the musician, the writer.
While there isn't space here to recognize every author from north Idaho and their books, several come to mind:
Marianne Love. After reading her, Pocket Girdles and other Confessions of a Northwest Farm Girl, an uproarious collection of autobiographical stories about rural life in the northwest, I decided I wanted to write memoir, to tell stories like she did, in a humorous, heartfelt way. It was after attending one of Marianne's writing workshops, and her encouraging words about blogging I started my own blog, 2 lane highway( http://2lanehighway.blogspot.com). Marianne remains one of my favorite writers.
Nancy Owens Barnes. Moose for Breakfast Outdoor Poems & Essays published by Rushing River Press gives picturesque view of north Idaho living through Nancy's colorful words and prose. Nancy is winner of the 2008 Zola Award for Poetry and was 2007 Jessie Cameron Alison Writer of the Year. Her book South to Alaska From the Heartland of America to the Heart of a Dream of one man's dream of living in Alaska fulfilled after he builds a 47 ft. boat in his Arkansas backyard begins a journey through a watery world he knows little about, to a world he cannot forget.
Elizabeth S. Brinton. "We landed with no thoughts of religious freedom in mind." So begins, My American Eden / Mary Dyer, Martyr for Freedom. Chris Peck , editor, the Commercial Appeal writes, She captures with grace the gripping human story of a remarkable woman of faith who dared to challenge the dark side of an emerging America. Brinton uses her grasp of history and politics to help us better understand what happens when the line between government might and what is right is blurred.
Phyllis Horne. The Carnival Girl - One Woman's Journey Through the Carnival Life tells how the author ran away from home at 14 and became a carnie - a carnival worker at the Pike in Long Beach, California. Hers is a story of brushes with the law, broken relationships and family trials until she eventually overcame those challenges and eventually owned her own business in Idaho.
Ana Parker Goodwin. A former psychotherapist and lecturer turned writer, Anna writes a fictional account of Dr. Faythe Bradington , a Clinical Psychologist, shocked to learn that an ex-client is suing her for implanting false memories of childhood sexual abuse in Justice Forbidden - A Dr. Faythe Bradington And L.P. Sanborn Novel. Ana is also co-author of renowned textbook on Sand Play Therapy.
D. Faye Higbee. The Dog Paw Chronicles/The Autobiography Of A Writer chronicles the authors life in short story form, with the addition of canine philosophy by Red the Dog.
Michael Marsden. Author of several books, including The House in Harrison and The Black Dog Bed and Breakfast, Michael is a long time member of Idaho Writers League. His favorite quote is one from E.L. Doctorow, "Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader, not the fact that it's raining, but the feeling of being rained upon."
Not just published book authors, but scriptwriters, magazine writers, copyrighters, and bloggers as well. Mary Jane Honegger recently won first place at the Sandpoint Film Festival for her screenplay, Root Bound , a short film of how complications arise when a young professional denies his Idaho roots when he is hired by a national television show.
Jenny Leo and Jennifer Rova are contributors to Writing North Idaho, and currently working on a novel.
As writers we have a tendency to only look to the J.K. Rowlings, Steven Kings and other renowned authors far away for inspiration, motivation and instruction, when local authors very near can often provide the same right where we live, and write
* Note: All book titles mentioned in this blog can be purchased on Amazon