Mark Zeiger has lived in Alaska, his native state, for most of his life. He now lives a mostly subsistence lifestyle on his semi-remote, off-the-grid homestead on the shore of Lynn Canal, south of Haines. He designs Websites and blogs about his family’s homestead life. He’s currently working on a memoir of homestead living and other books. He lives with his wife, Michelle, their daughter, Aly, and their cat, Spice.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was born in Alaska, and did most of my growing up here, with the exception of about 7 years in Washington state from the ages of 2 to 8.
In those years in Washington, my brother and I were both very aware that we had been born in Alaska, and that defined how we saw ourselves. Our family's move back to Alaska in 1969 seemed a fulfillment of destiny to us. The state's hold on me remained strong--perhaps stronger than I realized. When I began looking at the short stories I'd written over the years, I discovered that almost all of them had some Alaskan theme or influence, even the ones I wrote while living in the lower 48 as an adult.
As for Sacred Coffee: A "Homesteader's" Paradigm, I probably wouldn't have written it had it not been set in Alaska. I think the setting is what draws people to my blog, and generates interest in the book.
When did you first start writing?
I'm afraid to answer that! What if someone were to find some of that early stuff? It would be too embarrassing.
I probably started writing before I entered school. I learned to read early, and my brother Dave, two grades ahead of me, used to teach me to write as he learned. We loved to play roles, so writing stories came naturally. I also wrote a lot of poetry. I think I got published in Highlights Magazine in the first or second grade. After that, I wrote a lot of stories about the things that interested me. My parents saved some of it, and I have it, but I don't share it with anyone.
Sacred Coffee: A "Homesteader's" Paradigm reveals the thoughts, ideals, beliefs, and practices through which the Zeiger family pursue a simple, centered, more deliberate lifestyle off the grid in Alaska.
Shy Ghosts Dancing: Dark Tales from Southeast Alaska presents stories of darkness, mythology, and danger, examining the mysterious and unpredictable nature of life in Southeast Alaska, where perception and reality intermingle and conflict with puzzling and sometimes deadly results.