Friday, January 19, 2024

Q&A with Terry Evers




Terry Evers is the author of the memoir Fifteen Seasons. An educator, he lives in Oregon.


Q: Why did you decide to write Fifteen Seasons, and how would you describe your relationship with your father?


A: The driving force in writing Fifteen Seasons was to honor my father, Bruce Evers, who passed away in 2016.  He took a bold leap of faith to purchase a commercial salmon fishing dory boat to fish summers off the Oregon Coast. When I was 13, he invited me to join him on the water, and it entirely changed the course of my life.


We had a very close relationship before our commercial fishing days. He frequently took me sport fishing to various Oregon waterways, and we shared a love for our sports teams, the Portland Trailblazers and Oregon State University Beavers.


Our commercial fishing venture strengthened our bond as we navigated an adventure that very few experienced or understood. We certainly had our differences from time to time on the water, but overall we developed a connection and camaraderie on the water that made us a great team and was truly special. 


When I finally took a leap of faith of my own to write about our experiences, dedicating the whole project to him was the least I could do in light of all he did for me. 


Q: Did you need to do any research to write the book, or was most of it written from memory?


A: Beginning in our first year, I kept detailed records and log entries about each of our fishing days. These would include ocean conditions, fishing locations, catch records, and most notably daily short narratives of the highlights of each trip.


I think my dad urged me to do this for something to do in the evenings when we retired to our small travel trailer. I kept at it over the years and ended up with a wealth of information and special memories, which were huge assets in reconstructing our adventures.


While some of the content was from memory, photographs, and also reconnections with fishermen from "back in the day," the records I kept were gold and became the heart of the book. 


Q: You include a list of songs or albums from each year--how did you choose those?


A: The songs and albums were imprinted from special memories that occurred when either the music was actually playing at certain moments, or just music that was popular at the time.


For whatever reason, some of the melodies just naturally fused with the vibe around the Newport, Oregon, bayfront culture on the water as well.


Certain ones stand out from the rest. Readers will find that Paul McCartney and Wings, Fleetwood Mac, and Supertramp stood out, but there were many other artists and bands that helped paint the picture of my experience.


My publisher, Kim, noticed this connection and suggested I take it further by assigning a playlist for each chapter. It was a great idea and was a lot of fun to construct. Of course, over the past year, I've recalled several albums I wished I would have mentioned as well!


Q: What impact did it have on you to write this memoir, and what do you hope readers take away from it?


A: The largest impact of this memoir has been in navigating the grief of the loss of my father. We all approach loss differently, and being able to share our story just seemed right.


I know he would be delighted in how it not only turned out, but of all the connections and reconnections that have taken place during the whole venture. I have been able to touch base with at least a dozen former fishermen who we knew well and were revered by my father.


The book has created a whole new network of connections in unexpected ways.


One of the goals for this book is for readers to feel like they are on the water as the events are described. It was always hard to communicate to people what we did and what it was like. I've had many people express that they felt like they were on board, too, as they read through the chapters, which is extremely gratifying.


The Newport, Oregon, dory boat fleet does not exist anymore, so I also wanted to provide readers a glimpse of that culture. It was a special slice of time and I didn't want it to be forgotten.


 Lastly, I wanted the book to resonate with readers, regardless if they have any connection or interest in the fishing industry. From feedback I've received, it's done just that, whether it be a person's own loss or special life journey. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Aside from some occasional book events for Fifteen Seasons, I have started a children's book, geared for upper elementary to early middle school students. It's in its infancy, but does have a connection to the fishing industry and will include some fantasy with a special twist.


I have been an educator at the elementary level for 34 years, so it made sense to gear the project toward a younger audience. I'm anxious to learn more about writing for a younger audience, and would love to connect with others regarding best practices for publishing children's literature. It's another leap of faith. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I'm just very grateful to be able to share more about this book in this forum. I also greatly appreciate all the support, encouragement, and the positive reception of the book I've received over the past 15 months. It's been a special experience!


For those who would like to learn more about Fifteen Seasons, visit my Author Facebook Page


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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