Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Plover Landing by Marie Zhuikov‏

Marie Zhuikov has had a long interest in environmental issues and helped with efforts to restore piping plovers to Wisconsin Point on Lake Superior. A nonfiction writer for a water research program, Zhuikov is also a poet and is active in the writing community of Duluth, Minn., which she calls home.

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This sequel to “Eye of the Wolf” finds Melora St. James working to restore an endangered shorebird to the coast of Lake Superior. Melora’s peace and her focus on the piping plover are interrupted when Drew Tamsen, the boyfriend she thought she lost to another woman and another way of life eleven years ago, shows up on her office doorstep. He wants her back. They have a few things to work out first: Drew chose life as a werewolf over being with Melora, and after a painful divorce, Melora is in no hurry to trust or give her heart to another man -- even if he’s one she never quite got over.

Their story is interwoven with that of the plovers, who are threatened by foxes, loggers and the Federal Aviation Administration. Then there’s Demetri, a mysterious boy Melora and Drew find lost on the beach. In helping Demetri discover who he is and make his first real friends, Melora and Drew learn secrets about themselves, building community, and coming to terms with the past.


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Q) What inspired you to write this story?
My publisher requested a sequel to “Eye of the Wolf.” Since it took me 17 years to write that novel, I was worried about how long it would take to write a sequel. So I started writing “Plover Landing,” with hopes that I had learned a few things along the way that would make the writing process faster this time.

I got the idea for the story from work and research I did to write a grant to restore an endangered shorebird (the piping plover) to the shores of Lake Superior. But I also wanted to call attention to climate change, and to give Melora, the main character from “Eye of the Wolf,” the happy ending she deserved.

Q) How long did it take you to write?
Turns out, I did learn a thing or two that made the writing process faster. It only took me two-and-a-half years to write “Plover Landing.” That’s on top of having a full-time job, no husband, two children, and a needy dog.

Q) What is your favorite thing about writing?
I enjoy using my imagination to fictionalize real issues and places. My day job involves writing nonfiction stories about science, so I feel that novel writing balances me out by allowing for a different type of creativity.

Q) What is your least favorite thing about writing?
All the work it takes to ensure your writing is understandable to the reader. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it all came out perfectly the first time?

Q) If you could be any famous person for one day, who would you be and why?
Bono from U2, because I think he is so awesomely cool. His life is totally different from mine and I’m sure I’d learn a lot if I were Bono for a day.

Q) What is the oldest thing in your fridge and how old is it?
A tube of Bengay-like muscle ointment left by my ex-husband. It must be about five years old now. But I keep it there because my youngest son is an athlete, and he uses it sometimes.

Q) What can readers expect from you in the future?
I just finished my first short story. It’s a rather dark paranormal tale set in the Great Lakes. I’m not sure what I will do with it, but it makes me want to write more short stories before I settle into another novel. I do intend to write a sequel to Plover Landing. I’d like to show readers what happens in Melora’s life. There’s also the mysterious Demetri, a boy with special powers, and I could do a lot with him.

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