I think I’ve actually been working on this book since 1995 when I started writing Bread Alone. There was so much more I wanted to do with the characters, their relationships with each other and their personal growth—particularly Mac, who didn’t really reveal much about himself or his history in the first book. And of course, the relationship between Wyn and Tyler, who becomes not just an apprentice, but sort of Wyn’s surrogate daughter.
Also I was interested in exploring the way the Queen Anne neighborhood changed during the early nineties, the response to gentrification pressures, what happened to some of the businesses and people who had been in the neighborhood for a long time.
I did a fair amount of research for the middle section, which involves Mac disappearing into the wilds of the Yukon. I became fascinated by this huge, sparsely populated chunk of mostly unspoiled wilderness north of British Columbia. I wanted to drive up there on the Alaska Highway, but I ran out of time, so most of my research consisted of reading every book—fiction and non-fiction—that I could find that had anything to do with the far Northwest—the land itself, the history, especially the Klondike gold rush, the kinds of people who were drawn to settle there.
I was also fortunate to have some dear friends who spent most of one summer driving, camping and hiking up there, so I sat for nearly two days with them, listening to their stories and pouring over their photos.
The funny thing is, now that I’ve written the sequel, it’s still hard to let go of these characters. I still find myself daydreaming about Mac and Wyn, CM and Tyler, even David, and wondering what happens next…