Although travelling, I recently had the chance to briefly catch up with Alaskan author, Marianne Schlegelmilch.

Having celebrated a full and inspiring career in nursing, Marianne spends her efforts today, mainly writing. And her eight works (and counting) of AK-based children’s, mystery and fiction have already established her as an Alaskan literary fixture and one of America’s most gifted writers, with a genius for conveying vivid nature descriptions.

You can read more about Marianne on her website at

Here are my five, and Ms. Schlegelmilch’s answers:

1.   Who has been your greatest influence, and how?

Greatest influence—my husband of 45 years, who is an inspiration in positivity on many levels.

2.   Which previous job/project had the most impact on you, and why?

My long career as a Registered Nurse working mostly in Critical care. But in many facets of nursing across the USA.

3.   Is there a “secret of your success”?

I am doing what I love to do. I am inherently empathetic and have always written for fun—since grade school.

4.   Is there a particular moment that had a great effect on your life or career?

There were many moments in my work as a nurse and in my personal life that have made me who I am today. I believe in the goodness in life and that good will prevail over evil of any type.

5.   When I come up to Juneau this March (2015), what are the essential things to see and do?

Everything you can cram into your visit! Especially talking to locals and visiting as many places as possible both on and off the tourist track.

The original article can be viewed here.

My books are stories about life

“People often ask me about the Feather series,” Marianne Schlegelmilch says, as if she is completely baffled by the interest in the focal point of her mystery stories.

“They want to know if I am ‘new age’ or psychic, or somehow spiritually drawn to a world where feathers symbolize some deep, mystic aura.”

“The truth is that the whole feather ‘thing’ began when a war veteran gave my husband—also a war veteran—a feather with a red dot painted on it and told him it would bring him peace from the war. There’s more to it that that,” she adds, “but that’s the gist of it.”

She goes on to explain that when she decided that writing mysteries might be fun, the feather seemed like a logical focal point around which she could weave her stories, and so she began with the first book in the series, Feather from a Stranger. Next came Two Tickets and a Feather, Driftfeather on the Alaska Seas, and now, Feather for Hoonah Joe.

“My books are stories about life,” she goes on to say. “They’re about the young, the old, and those in the middle of life’s journey. They cover twists and turns and strive for a balance between realism and fantasy—as if to portray life at its worst against life as we wish it could be.”

Certainly Marianne’s years as a critical care nurse have been a strong influence on her personal observations of human nature, but so, too, has her own journey.From a sheltered life in a Midwestern town to the exciting cross-country travels that she credits with forming her into the person she is today, Marianne’s writing displays a deep appreciation for nature, people, animals, and for life itself.

“My writing is the perfect culmination to a long career, a long life, and a long marriage,” she says. “It is as if I am taking a paintbrush and creating a master painting of the human condition from the perspective of my personal observations.”

With the backdrop of Alaska to her stories, and plenty of long Alaskan winters during which to write, Marianne Schlegelmilch has emerged as one of America’s most gifted writers. If you haven’t yet discovered her work, chances are that you will be discovering it soon.

The original story can be found here.

'Slugs Forever' tells story of helping one another - The Seward Phoenix Log

The Independent Living Center has a new fundraising tool – a book for young people that illustrates the challenges that one can sometimes face while living life, and the solutions to be found with help from friends and fellow travelers.

ILC serves people with disabilities in Seward and the rest of the Kenai Peninsula through information and referral, advocacy, support with daily living skills and transportation programs.

The center held a book-signing event at Seward Community Library Museum on Saturday to introduce the new book, “Slugs Forever: A tale from an Alaska Backyard.” The author and the illustrator, who donated their work on the book, were there to introduce the book and talk about ILC.

View the full article here.

Nothing sluggish about new book, song

July 31, 2013 - 05:21pm
Nothing sluggish about new book, song

In spite of its name and leading character, there’s nothing slow-moving about “Slugs Forever!’

What started as a book project to benefit the Independent Living Center — an organization promoting choice, independence and quality of life for individuals and families living with disability — has attracted the illustrating talent of an artist; the songwriting, arranging, singing and instrument-playing of local musicians; and the energy of two young collaborators. The end result: a book-CD package that highlights the ILC’s mission through the antics of one of Alaska’s least-known critters: a slug.

A book signing will be held at Homer Bookstore from 4-6 p.m. Aug. 8, a second signing at Fireside Books in Palmer beginning at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 7, and other signings are being organized.

“It has had quite an amazing life of its own,” said Joyanna Geisler, ILC executive director.

“Slugs Forever!” began when Homer author Marianne Schlegelmilch and her husband, Bill, turned to the ILC for help when Bill’s doctor recommended some modifications be made to the couple’s home. Inspired by the ILC’s support, Schlegelmilch proposed writing a book specifically to be used as a fundraiser for the organization.

The manuscript Schlegelmilch created focused on a spirit of giving, love, compassion, working together, and respectful, interactive support. Not only did the idea and the manuscript win the ILC board’s support, it also inspired board member Maggie Winston of Kenai to volunteer as the book’s illustrator. With her pencils and paintbrush held between her teeth, Winston, who has been paralyzed from the neck down since contracting transverse myelitis in 2005, set to work creating illustrations that matched Schlegelmilch’s prose.

Homer musician Dave Gerard became involved in the project after he was at Schlegelmilch’s home to do some repairs. In the course of conversation, Schlegelmilch told Gerard about the book project, gave him a copy of the manuscript and asked him to consider writing a song.

Inspired by the idea, Gerard told musician Sally Wills and she “didn’t hesitate. We wrote the song in an hour,” said Gerard.

“When I found out what it was about, that did it for me,” said Wills of participating in the ILC-benefiting project.

Another well-known Homer musician, Cathy Stingley, joined the effort, along with her two young granddaughters, Audrey and Keeley, who added their own creative stamp. Ann Keffer helped with the musical arrangement “and it didn’t stop there. I have Robert (Hockema) in my life and called him and he didn’t hesitate,” said Gerard of recruiting Hockema to produce and record the song, which was mastered by Peter Ratner of Anchorage.

“It’s something that’s bigger than all of us. I kept saying to the group, ‘What’s happening?’” said Gerard of the momentum the project gathered.

Schlegelmilch also was amazed at how “Slugs Forever!” just kept “getting bigger and bigger.”

Shaking her head at the journey “Slugs Forever!" has taken, Geisler said, “Everything just fell into place.”

The book and CD set sells for $14.95. In addition to the Homer Bookstore, "Slugs Forever!" is available through:

• Publication Consultants,;

• The Independent Living Center, 235-7911 or

A link to both sites also is available through Schlegelmilch’s website,

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Original artical can be found hereUsed with permission of the Homer News