Saturday, December 9, 2023

Stefan Jacob -- Author Interview with Dr. Mel




Stikine Wild - The Wilderness Years - Second Edition: Raising Our Family In The Canadian/Alaskan Wilderness

 by Stefan Jacob


Can you share a bit about your background and how it has influenced your writing?

I have written a journal most of my life, and spent many years homesteading in the wilderness of Northwest BC, Canada, near the Alaskan ‘panhandle’ SE of Juneau. After many years of living and raising a family in the wilderness, we returned to civilization, and I wanted to preserve that experience for others with my writing and photography. The following is a short overview:

The Place at the End of All Roads was called Glenora, Beside the Stikine River. The dirt road simply ended on the rocky shore of the river. Past that point, for hundreds of miles to the south, west, and north, there were no roads and no people until the river finally reached Alaska, 150 miles away. It was there and beyond where we lived and raised our family for many years.

In late winter, we drove into the village of Telegraph Creek, BC, the most remote community in British Columbia, Canada, near Alaska. The town had no electricity, telephone, or television and was 400 miles (700 km) by dirt and gravel road from the nearest town with a supermarket – a twelve-hour drive each way.


At the end of the road in Glenora, twelve miles beyond Telegraph Creek, we left our van by the frozen river and went 17 miles (25 km) further down the river on the ice, to live in a tiny 8X10 foot abandoned log cabin homestead. This is the story of our life in the Stikine wilderness, raising a family of three children, creating our own electricity, growing vegetables for the town and eventually helping develop a salmon fishery in the Stikine River wilderness – 150 road-less miles down the Stikine River to Wrangell Alaska.

The in-river commercial fishery created an international conflict between Canada and Alaska, since Alaska didn't want to share the salmon. I represented the Canadian Stikine River fishermen along with a representative from the Tahltan Tribal Council (the local first nation people of the Stikine region) at the salmon treaty talks. Together they helped find a compromise based on co- managing the salmon stocks with Alaska, eventually creating more salmon for both countries. This formed the basis for the Trans-boundary Salmon Treaty.

This book chronicles our personal adventure in the Canadian wilderness, and also tells the largely unwritten history of the conflict between Alaska and Canada over the fishing rights to the salmon spawned in the river, and the future role of the Tahltan First Nation people controlling their own salmon resources. Later I co-managed the commercial in-river fishery with the Tahltan First Nation, which led to many other adventures and an unexpected conclusion.

The story is both a personal memoir of our family’s adventure, and a snapshot of that time and place in the history of this remote region of the country.


What inspired you to become an author?

The desire to document the extraordinary experiences. Whenever I told people about that life and many events, people were fascinated and asked me to write about it.

What is your latest book about, and what inspired its story?

This is the only full-length book that I have written and published. I have written many shorter works, but have yet to publish them.


Can you walk us through your research process for this book?

I kept copious notes and photographs, chronicling the many years we lived there, and I represented the Stikine River fishermen at the International Salmon Treaty negotiations between Canada and the USA.

Could you describe your typical writing routine?

I write best and most productively in long, uninterrupted times. Often late at night.

How do you approach character development and world-building in your writing?

Many of the people in my stories were in themselves ‘larger than life.’ I often find real life more interesting than fiction. Many people who have read my book tell me that it was one of the most interesting books that they have ever read, including writers. I have had over 300 reviews on Amazon with a 4.2 average rating.

Do you experience writer’s block, and if so, how do you overcome it?

Mostly not. I wait till I am called to write, then it just flows out of me, nonstop.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your writing career?

Learning how to interface with Kindle by myself, and publishing. When I found out that most publishers wanted exclusive access to my book for 6-12 months, and then only accepted only 2-4% of submissions, I chose to go with Kindle self-publish.

What do you consider your greatest achievement as an author?

Conveying the feeling of being there with me. Many have told me that they came with me.

How has reader feedback influenced your writing, if at all?

I added a powerful lead in, cut back on words and forced myself to be more succinct.



What do you hope readers take away from your book?

To feel the experience we had, and to feel the vast beauty of the wilderness.

Which authors or books have had a significant impact on you and your writing?

Henry David Thoreau, Mark Twain, many books of true life Alaskan and Canadian wilderness adventures, The Call of the Wild and many stories by Jack London, and numerous other adventure classics.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors?

Inhabit your story! Put 110% of yourself into the experience and become part of your story.

What are some common misconceptions about being an author?

I can only speak for myself.

Are you currently working on any new projects? Can you give us a sneak peek?

Chronicling seven days riding the rails across the USA in the mid 60’s, gathering other short stories that I have written into a collection, and possibly getting Stikine Wild made into a movie (filmed on site with some of the most magnificent mountain scenery in North America that most people have never seen. Oh, also traveling overland from Europe to India and Nepal filled with many deep and meaningful events and some near death experiences

What has writing taught you about yourself?

That I have had a rich, wonderful life which people love having me share with them.


First Edition

Stikine Wild - The Wilderness Years: Raising a Family in the Canadian Wilderness Kindle Edition