Running the Bases with S.K. Randolph
1. You spend your time on a boat along the Alaskan coast. Do your adventures at sea make their way into your novels? Can you tell us about one of those adventures?
Our boating adventures definitely inform my writing. In 2010, I retired from the world of dance to write. Boarding my new home, a 40ft-boat, and cruising 1,200 miles on a 70-day trip up the Inside Passage to Alaska was an exciting introduction to my new life!
In my second novel my characters are on a sailboat navigating through a mysterious strait with a history of peril and death. My telling of this was based on my experience going through a long, narrow passageway between islands as the tide ran strong, the wind whipped, and my fear boiled!
Most of our time is spent at anchor in quiet coves along Alaska’s Southeast coast far from humanity in a gentle and serene immersion with nature. Of course, there are those times when a storm hits and we are dragging anchor about to be blown ashore, or a whooshing sound announces a whale in the cove, or in the middle of night two brown bears awaken us with their roaring only 50 yards away―even more shocking because we’ve seen how well bears swim and climb! So many experiences to influence my writing.
In another adventure in my second novel, the characters travel on their sailboat via a portal to a fiord lined with ice covered shores and filled with ice bergs similar to what we have seen here in Alaska. Snowflakes obscure their vision as a Water ConDria soars overhead. Isn’t the imagination grand!
2. How has your background in Dance influenced your writing?
As a choreographer and artistic director with 40 years of experience and over 60 original choreographic creations, I told stories through motion. During those years, I learned the arts of trusting myself and taking risks.
Early in my choreographic career, I tried to control the process. At home, I used my son’s Legos as miniature dancers with the dining room table as my stage. I, of course, took copious notes. When I took these notes into the studio to set the movements on my dancers, I ran into walls. I learned I had to create and recreate in the present. Then I would clean and detail the piece and stand back for a final look.
Choreographing taught me the value of editing. Dance and writing are honed by careful attention to detail and the willingness to let the unnecessary things go.
I have found that in both art forms, a piece is never truly finished. The moment comes when I know it is time to let the audience (or readers) make it their own.
I am the writer I am today because of the choreographer I was yesterday.
3. If you were to leave Alaska, where would you like to live/cruise?
I love my life on a boat in this wild and wonderful place! Once in a while I do wonder what it would be like to live where the sun shines more and the rain falls less!
Planning what’s next has never worked well from me. Experience has taught me to let life unfold.
As with my writing, allowing it to flow, to watch for the doors to open, and to be ready and willing to step through are what makes my life an adventure!
4. What is next for you and your characters? Will you continue the UnFolding series, or branch off in a new direction?
Writing is my passion. It connects me to life. As long as it feeds my soul, I’ll keep creating. What I write next depends on what the characters have to say. Each has their own story. I’ll keep writing until the characters grow quiet.
The UnFolding Series has come to a pause after four novels and eleven companion shorts. The characters are still talking to me so I continue. The CoaleScent Cycle draft has begun and its stories demand to be told.
I expect down the road that I will discover new characters and new worlds. This prospect delights me.
Meet S.K. Randolph
After a wonderful career in dance, I am no longer directing performers on stage to tell my stories. I now choreograph words on my computer. In some ways it is different, but in many it is the same. Taking as much if not more effort, it is as delightfully rewarding!
My first written work, UnFolding Series, has taken several years to complete. The paperbacks and Kindle eBooks are now available from Amazon. The next series has begun its journey to the page and is a continuation of the UnFolding story.
I now live a quiet and simple life focused on writing, creating art for my books, and cruising the coast of Southeast Alaska in a 40-foot boat. The largest US national forest, the Tongass National Forest encompasses the thousands of islands amongst which I travel. Brown bears, wolves, moose and whales, dolphins, and salmon have lived here for untold millennia. You will find me at anchor in a cove amongst them, savoring the mist floating through the trees, raindrops patterning the water with circles (did I mention this is the world’s largest temperate rain forest?), and enjoying the moment.