KODIAK, Alaska-Most people know that commercial fishing in Alaska is ranked as one of the most dangerous
occupations in the world. Through reality TV, millions are transfixed by the drama of
life-threatening conditions faced by the crabbers in the Bering Sea.
Those astonishing living-and-dying stories are included in a newly published anthology, HOOKED!
True Stories of Obsession, Love, and Death from Alaska's Commercial Fishermen and Women, edited
by Leslie Leyland Fields. But they are hardly the whole story. This new book takes readers further,
beyond the camera and beyond stereotypes into the minds and hearts of those who live and work at sea.
"This collection of essays represents an extraordinary holistic view of Alaskan fishing," Fields writes,
"not just the dying, but the living; not just the obsessive doing of fishing, but the passionate being as well."
Sixteen true stories from fisher/writers, both old and new voices, offer readers an intimate
understanding of why so many are hooked, unwilling or unable to leave this life.
Mary Jacobs, one of the first women skippers in Alaska, traces her path from dancing in
a bar to running her own highliner boat. Moe Bowstern masters the art of using the
(pee) bucket. Toby Sullivan exposes the desperation and absurdities of the Exxon
Valdez oil spill cleanup. Michael Crowley reports on his first hazing as a greenhorn.
Sig Hansen recalls a nervous first season running his family's boat. Leslie Leyland
Fields returns to the skiff to crew for her grown daughter. Wendy Erd regretfully
leaves the Bristol Bay fishery after twelve years. Debra Nielsen writes powerfully
of the tragic sinking of her vessel and loss of her companions. Joel Gay riffs on the
panic of herring fishing. Naphtali Fields remembers helplessness and her first storm at sea.
Nancy Lord shares a day in the life of a salmon fisher; Joe Upton writes of his tumultuous
entrance into Alaska fishing; Spike Walker tells the dramatic story of a sinking. Erin Fristad,
hooked by the fishing life she has left behind, leaves her prestigious day job to return to it.
A resident of Kodiak, Fields has worked in commercial fishing for 34 years. She is a nationally
known speaker, a former professor, and an award-winning author of seven books,
including SURVIVING THE ISLAND OF GRACE, an Epicenter Press bestseller.
Title: HOOKED! True stories of Obsession, Love, and Death from Alaska's Commercial Fishing Men and Women|
Editor: Leslie Leyland Fields www.leslie-leyland-fields.com befriend on Facebook
Publisher: Epicenter Press www.EpicenterPress.com
Category: Nonfiction / anthology
Publication Date: September, 2011
Format: Trade paperback, 5½ x 8½, 172 pages, text printed on recycled paper.
Trade paperback $14.95, ISBN 978-1-935347-13-2
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Suggested interview questions
Q: How did you find so many fishermen and women who were such talented writers? A
re there some special connections between writing and commercial fishing?
Q: Can you sketch quickly what some of these fisher-writers' backgrounds are?
Q: Can you give us some highlights of some of the stories? (Read a favorite passage or two?)
Q: What do the stories and experiences in these pages reveal about the fishing life that "The Deadliest Catch" doesn't reveal?
Q: You use the word "obsession" in the sub-title. Is that hyperbole, or do you think
there really is an element of obsession in fishermen and fisherwomen?
Q: Do you think the kind of worldwide exposure that's come from "The Deadliest Catch"
(airs in more than 150 countries with an audience of about 3 million) has been good for
the fisheries and for fishermen and women?
Q: You've been watching the fisheries for more than 30 years, plus your own experience in fishing.
(And your husband is on the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council). How has your personal
experience changed in fishing over the years? How has fishing changed in general?
Leslie Leyland Fields can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.