And So It Begins

On this first day of March Monday Mania, I'm thrilled to have Julie Flanders as my guest. Julie's been a blog friend for a long time, and I'm excited for her to share her new book, POLAR NIGHT, here at the Tiki Hut.

Not only is Julie sharing information about POLAR NIGHT, she's also sharing an ebook version with one lucky commenter. To be eligible, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post between now and 9 p.m. Central Standard Time on Thursday, March 7.

The winner will be posted on the Top Ten on Friday, March 8.


Thank you so much for having me here at the Tiki Hut today, Carol!

I always love to come to the Tiki Hut to soak up some sun and enjoy the ocean breeze. But today I want to write about a setting that is about as far removed from Carol's internet home as you can get. I'm writing about Fairbanks, Alaska, which is the primary setting of my debut novel, Polar Night. More specifically, I'm writing about winter in Fairbanks.

My novel takes place during December and the winter solstice plays a large role in the story. Each year on the solstice, Fairbanks only experiences about 3 hours and 40 minutes of sunlight. The sun rises at around 11:00 in the morning and disappears again before 3:00 in the afternoon. The month of December is depressingly dark in Fairbanks, as the longest day of the month is not even 5 hours long.

In addition to the dark skies, Fairbanks sees frigid temperatures in the winter months. The average winter temperatures range from -15 to -25 degrees Fahrenheit, but extremes of -50 and even -60 degrees are not unheard of. The lowest recorded temperature in Fairbanks history was -62 degrees.

Fairbanks usually sees its first snowfall in September and the ground generally remains covered with snow from October through May. The average snowfall for December is 12 inches, and residents of Fairbanks can expect an average of 59.5 inches of snow each year.

One of the most interesting things I learned about winter in Fairbanks is the presence of ice fog. Ice fog occurs when the air is simply too cold (usually -40 degrees or colder) to absorb the moisture that comes from things such as car exhausts or even human breath. Instead of dissipating into the atmosphere the moisture turns into fine ice crystals that are suspended in the air. Apparently the early settlers in Alaska called the fog “white death” because they believed the crystals could get into their lungs and kill them. I thought it was such a creepy phenomenon that I simply had to include it in my novel.

I can't really say what drew me to Fairbanks and Alaska for my book, as I hate winter weather and am glad that I live in a city (Cincinnati, Ohio) that doesn't usually get much snow. But the snowy landscape and frigid temperatures of the Alaskan winter lit a fire in my imagination and brought the world of Polar Night to life.

Still, after thinking about snow and darkness and ice fog, I'm now ready to get back to the beach here at the Tiki Hut! Someone please help me find my beach chair and my sunscreen, I need to sit in the sun and warm up.

Do you love snow and winter weather or are you all about the summer and the sun? Do you like reading or writing about exotic or extreme locations that are wildly different than your home turf? 

Thanks again Carol for having me as your guest!

When Detective Danny Fitzpatrick leaves his hometown of Chicago and moves to Fairbanks, Alaska he wants nothing more than to escape the violence and heartbreak that left his life in pieces. Numbed by alcohol and the frozen temperatures of an Alaskan winter, Danny is content with a dead-end job investigating Fairbanks' cold cases. That all changes when a pretty blond woman goes missing on the winter solstice, and Danny stumbles upon some surprising connections between her disappearance and that of another Fairbanks woman three years earlier. Forced out of his lethargy, Danny sets out to both find the missing woman and solve his own cold case.

The investigation points Danny towards Aleksei Nechayev, the handsome and charming proprietor of an old asylum turned haunted tourist attraction in the Arctic town of Coldfoot. As he tries to find a link between Nechayev and his case, Danny's instinct tells him that Nechayev is much more than what he seems.

Danny has no idea that Nechayev is hiding a secret that is much more horrifying than anything he could ever have imagined. As his obsession with finding the missing women grows, Danny finds his own life in danger. And when the truth is finally revealed, the world as he knows it will never be the same.

Julie Flanders is a librarian and a freelance writer who has written for both online and print publications. She is an avid animal lover and shares her home in Cincinnati, Ohio with her dog and cat. Her debut novel Polar Night, a suspense thriller with a supernatural twist, is now available from Ink Smith Publishing at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords

Find Julie online at her blog, and on Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook



Today and tomorrow I'm visiting with Patricia Stoltey and giving away one copy of IN NAME ONLY. I hope you'll stop by and say hi!

Good Luck to All
on Both Giveaways!


Didn't know about the ice fog. Think that's a little too cold for me.
Don't enter me for the book - already own it!
Julie Flanders said…
Thanks again for having me as your guest, Carol!
And thank you, Alex! I agree about the ice fog, that creeped me out.
Carol Kilgore said…
Julie - The Tiki Hut is a No Parka Zone!
Unknown said…
Julie, there are a lot of new books out and about right now and this is one I truly want to pick up and read. It sounds like such a great story. All the best to you!
L. Diane Wolfe said…
So little sun. It would become depressing after a while.
J.L. Campbell said…
Hi, Julie,
Ice fog is new to me. The weather in Fairbanks would also be too much for me. We're having a cold front now and it's way cooler than I like.
Julie Flanders said…
@Carol, LOL, I'm sorry, I won't break the Tiki rules again! :D

@Julie, thank you so much!

@Diane, I agree, I couldn't take it.

@Joy, I'm the same way, I loved writing about it but would never want to live in it.
Anonymous said…
Ice fog....I'd like to see that.
Little light makes me sad. :) Then my brain has ice fog.

Luanne G. Smith said…
Love that about the ice fog. Great detail to include in a novel. And, no, I do not love winter. Not the January and February variety at least. Ready for spring!
Ciara said…
Don't enter me for the book giveaway. I own it. I can't wait to read it. If I could just catch up on the day job. :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Julie - hahaha! You can talk about darkness, cold, and ice fog...brrrr!...all you want. I just meant you won't need to WEAR a parka around here :)

Hi, everyone! Have a great time here with Julie. The margarita machine doesn't operate until lunchtime :)
Julie Flanders said…
@Delores, I'd be curious to see it too as long as I didn't have to live with it LOL.

@Teresa, LOL, my brain has that problem as well.

@LG, me too!

@Ciara, oh, thank you!

@Carol, LOL, I get it now! I left the parka back at my place and am soaking up the sun here. :)
Laura Eno said…
Sigh. It's not lunchtime yet. Can I have a margarita anyway?

I love the look of snow. It's beautiful-for about three hours. Then it can go away. Guess that's why I live in Florida.

Polar Night sounds fabulous and it's at the top of my TBR (toppling) pile - already owned!
Carol Kilgore said…
Laura - Hey, it's gotta be lunchtime someplace. Go ahead. The Margarita Machine is now officially open!
Unknown said…
I like reading and writing about places with weather conditions far different from my own. Be it the on the beach or bundled up from the snow. The book sounds great! I hope I win. :)
Linda G. said…
Ice fog? Brrr! Sounds cold. POLAR NIGHT sounds like a great book to read while curled up with a cup of something hot. :)
Great seeing you here Julie! I have Polar Night on ice in my TBR file. Carol, thanks for hosting Julie.
M Pax said…
We often hit below zero here in winter, but not that cold. Brrr. I can't wait to read your book, Julie. ;D

Happy Monday to you, Carol!
Mark Means said…
Having grown up in the Cincy area, I definitely do not miss the cold or snow so I'll gladly stay in the Tiki Hut over Alaska :)

You can also leave me out of the drawing as I already have a copy of Polar Nights and am really enjoying it. Thanks!
Julie Flanders said…
@Laura, I think I should retire in Florida or Arizona, I totally hate the small amount of snow we get here. Thank you!

@Carol, oh, thanks!!

@Linda, thank you!

@Julie, thanks so much, I hope you will like it!

@Mary, thanks so much!

@Mark, I'm so glad you're enjoying it, thanks!
Misha Gerrick said…
Ice fog does sound really creepy, but sounds like it could be pretty too.

I love snow. As for locations I like to write, I like anywhere that works for my stories.:-)
Jay Noel said…
No wonder they pay you to live in Alaska! I have several friends that live there - they love it, but they find it tough to deal with the darkness in December and January.
Julie Flanders said…
@Misha, yeah, I think it could be pretty too. Good point about locations, whatever works!

@Jay, I can't even imagine how tough it would be.
Polar Night sounds like an excellent read, and yes, I love books set in unfamiliar surroundings.
I enjoyed Julie's posting very much. Her book, POLAR NIGHT, sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for sharing this information about the new book.
Julie's book sounds great. I enjoyed reading very much about POLAR NIGHT. I wish her the very best with her new book. I'm glad she shared the information on your blog about her great book.
I've bought Julie's book, so don't let me win! I can't wait to read it. I like the beauty of winter - the way snow looks just after a storm, when the sun comes out and makes everything glitter. And, I love to hibernate :)
LD Masterson said…
Excuse me, I need to go find a sweater. For some reason, I'm feeling chilly.
Helena said…
Polar Night is on my TBR list! In Colorado we definitely get some extreme weather (it's snowing right now), but it's mild compared to Fairbanks. Atmosphere can be so important in a novel, and it sounds like you've really created that in your story -- "white death" sound creepy indeed.
CATachresis said…
Well you couldn't get more polarised than Alaska and the tiki hut!!! It's a dichotomy for sure :)
Winter every time for me. Crisp, cold, elegant - as opposed to the sad and soggy mess I become in summer. Polar Night sounds wonderful. If I had more willpower I would avoid these posts. It is fuelling my book lust. Which needs no assistance anyway.
Carol Kilgore said…
CATachresis - You might say it's Kitty-Cornered :)
Julie Flanders said…
@Patricia, thank you!

@Brenda, I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and thanks so much for the good wishes!

@Melissa, oh, thank you! I hope you will like it.

@Helena, oh, thanks! I hope you will enjoy the book, thanks so much for adding it to your list.

@Carolyn, LOL, true enough.

@Elephant's Child, oh, thank you, I'm glad you like the sound of it.

@Carol, LOL. :D
Julie Flanders said…
@LD, I missed you earlier, I hope the sweater warmed you up! :D
Melissa said…
I'm in Houston. You can send me some snow. I won't mind. :)
Jennifer Shirk said…
Hi, Julie! I love to read about all kinds of places and weather--but to live in real life, I'm a fair weather summer person. :-)
Jemi Fraser said…
Ice fog is a pretty cool phenomenon! Sounds like a great book! :)
Unknown said…
Ice fog sounds so beautiful; the definition alone is so poetic. Your novel sounds so compelling and the cover is beyond beautiful.
Rachna Chhabria said…
Polar Night sounds good.
Unknown said…
I'm from Carol's part of the world AND love snow/winter. A bad combination. (It was 88 here yesterday ... in the 60s with lots of wind today. Texas!)
Julie Flanders said…
@Melissa, I'll try my best LOL.

@Jennifer, hello! I'm with you on the weather.

@Jemi, thank you!

@Raquel, oh, thanks so much, that's very nice of you to say!

@Rachna, thank you!

@EJ, LOL, you are definitely in the wrong place then. You need to move up north for some snow.
Anne Gallagher said…
Wow just reading the cover copy sent chills up my spine. This sounds like a great read -- in the middle of the summer.

Congratulations, Julie.

Thanks for hosting, Carol.
Carol Kilgore said…
E.J. - I like winter for a while. But come late January, I'm ready for spring. And I love fresh, clean, and falling snow. Not so much the gray, brown, black, yellow, and yukky snow.

Anne - My pleasure!

Julie - I told the cabana boys to have the margarita machine ready to go by ten :)

Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Julie Flanders said…
@Anne, thank you so much! Great to meet you!

Carol, sounds good to me. :D
Ice fog sounds like a fascinating phenomenon. I'd like to see that... through a window, of course. Or in your book. That'll have to do. (I already have it, so don't enter me into the drawing, either.)
Julie Flanders said…
@Susan, through a window sounds good to me too. Thanks for getting the book!
Two extremes... Alaskan ice fog versus Tiki Hut margaritas?
What an interesting dichotomy.
Thanks ladies. You rock!
Unknown said…
I live in Canada where it's gets very cold and we have tons of snow. But not THAT cold and we don't get that much snow--even if it felt like we did this weekend. :P

Congrats on your book, Julie.
Congratulations to Julie! Ice Fog sounds awesome!

Hi Carol!

Julie Flanders said…
@Michelle, even though I loved writing about ice fog I'm still happy with the Tiki Hut margaritas! Thank you!

@Stina, oh, I'm sure you get way more snow than I could handle. Thanks so much for the congrats!

@Nas, thanks so much!
Unknown said…
Wow, Julie - that's a totally different world to anything I've experienced here in Australia. December's a time for BBQs and fun at the beach, not breathing ice crystals and pining for sunshine.
Carol Kilgore said…
Michelle - Fire and Ice :)

Hi, Nas!

Chris - Thanks for commenting here!
Julie Flanders said…
@Chris, that sounds like a fun time to me! I'd love to visit Australia some day. Thanks for your comment!
Southpaw said…
Ice Fog! Cool. I love winter and snow. Though I'm most partial to autumn. I like to read about all sorts of place and I love when little details like ice fog is added to the story.
Carol Kilgore said…
Southpaw - I like little details like that, too.
Julie Flanders said…
@Southpaw, I love autumn too, that's my favorite season. Thanks for your comment!
Anonymous said…
I live near the beach and love it. But I also love a great view of anything. My favourite season is autumn :)
I love Fairbanks, we've visited often. Being from central BC, I understand cold, ice fog, and darkness. Winters are becoming harder and harder to cope with each year. I think that's why winter is such a prevalent part of my novels. There's an isolation and loneliness that comes with winter. Writing eases the discomfort.

Your cover looks awesome, Julie. Best of luck spreading the word. It's definitely on my to read list.
Bonnee Crawford said…
What an interesting story this sounds like! :D I love to read about far-away places from myself and all of their crazy little phenomena and folklore. Thanks for sharing!
Unknown said…
Hi Julie! I loved all the fascinating details about Fairbanks, Alaska, especially the "ice fog/white death" thing. Eek - that sounds so creepy! Good luck, and wishing you every success! :-)
Julie Flanders said…
@Michelle, that's a great point, I love any kind of pretty view. I am jealous that you live near the beach, I have to admit. :D

@Joylene, thank you so much! And I can only imagine how difficult the winters must be where you are, I'm glad the writing helps you cope with them.

@Bonnee, thank you!!

@Lexa, thanks so much!!
Anonymous said…
Fascinating post. I've always been interested in experiencing the hours and days of darkness way up north.
Carol Kilgore said…
Medeia - Now you can do so vicariously with Polar Night!
Unknown said…
Fantastic interview! So many fascinating things about Alaska and Fairbanks. It is the perfect setting for a mystery. Sales to the stars, Julie!
Oh, that ice fog is a fascinating and creepy phenomenon, for sure. How cool! I joke with my husband that I'm such a night owl that living in Alaska would actually make me awake and perky all the time, but I know the lack of sun would get to me, in all honesty.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse
Julie Flanders said…
@Medeia, me too, but then I think I'd go nuts if I ever did experience it LOL.

@Melissa, thank you so much!

@Shannon, LOL, maybe you'd do okay with it. I'm the opposite as I'm a morning person so I know I couldn't take it.

Thank you again Carol for having me here at The Tiki Hut! I had a great time. :)
Carol Kilgore said…
Glad you had fun, Julie!