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Tim Rundquist writes tour guide/novel about Alaska

January 28, 2001
Elisabeth Sherwin -- gizmo@ dcn.davis.ca.us

Tim Rundquist, formerly of Davis (Davis High School Class of '80) has just published his first book, "How Heavy is The Mountain," which he describes as a combination Alaskan tour manual and novel.

He will give a reading at The Avid Reader in downtown Davis on Saturday, April 14, at 7:30 p.m. and this will mark his first visit back to Davis in two years.

While he and his wife, Heather, now live in Minnesota with their son and daughter, he grew up in Davis, moving here with his family in 1972. The Rundquists moved to Davis so that his stepmother could go to graduate school at UCD.

(His father and stepmother, Bill and Jane Rundquist, still live in Davis. If you think the Rundquist name is familiar, he also has an older brother and two younger sisters, all of whom graduated from Davis High. )

Rundquist then went to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma where he earned a bachelor's degree in legal studies in 1985, the University of Oregon for a master's in political science, and finally the Seattle University School of Law for a law degree in 1996.

"In between all this education, I worked in Alaska and the Yukon Territory, Canada, as a professional tour guide. I did this for eight seasons, covering territory from Ketchikan to Prudhoe Bay, and nearly everything in between," he said.

In his final season of tour guiding, 1995, he worked for an eco-tourism firm, Alaska Wildland Adventures, which emphasized environmental education and sustainable tourism in addition to hiking, whale-watching and river-rafting.

He remained in Juneau for a short time thereafter to work as a legal intern for the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund.

"During my tenure there, I saw a lot accomplished in a relatively short time, in terms of developing specific plans for protecting such areas as the North Slope and Tongass National Forest. This experience taught me that such action can be effective and inspired me to keep pursuing a career in environmental law."

After getting his degree, Rundquist worked for the state of Minnesota as a law clerk until beginning a new job with a private law firm this fall. "I hope to develop a practice in environmental and land use law, " he said. The time spent in Alaska affected him not just professionally but creatively. "My eight seasons in Alaska made such a deep impression on me that I had to write about it," he said. "Alaska is truly a land like no other. "

The trouble was, Rundquist had some difficulty deciding what kind of book to write.

"The educator in me wanted to give a tour of the places that I came to know so well," he said. "The environmentalist in me wanted to highlight the special and fragile nature of the land. And my inner artist was inspired to express itself, to experiment, to create. The words just flowed."

So the result is a book that's not easy to categorize and perhaps Rundquist doesn't want to be confined to one genre. But finally it didn't matter since Rundquist decided to go the Internet publishing route.

"After completing my first novel nearly 15 years ago, I beat my head against the wall trying to find a conventional publisher and then, when that didn't work, trying to find an agent.

"This time, with more options available, I decided to try a totally different route," said Rundquist. He decided to publish on the Internet.

"The best thing about Internet-based publishing at iuniverse.com is that it bypasses the middleman. Anyone, anywhere in the world, can go directly to my publisher, iuniverse.com, and read my book in its entirety online. The hope, of course, is that they'll eventually want to buy it, instead of frying their eyes on the CRT for 551 pages," he said.

But there is a disadvantage.

"The only real drawback stems from not being able to take advantage of the great marketing and distribution juggernaut that comes with the big-time publishers. The way I've done it, it's relatively easy to get the book out there, but it's not so easy to publicize and sell it," he added.

"My goal, above all, is simply to place the book in the hands of people who will read and enjoy it. I wish I could be like Richard Brautigan and build a readership by walking around San Francisco, giving away copies for free."

Rundquist is at work on his next book. Be warned: It takes place in and around Davis. So unless you want to crop up as an unsympathetic character in his novel, you might want to stop by The Avid Reader on April 14 (mark that down on your calendar) and say hi to him. And pick up a copy of his book.

To inquire about ordering any of the above mentioned books from an independent bookstore,
Bogey's Books at discounted prices [ Click Here ]

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