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Monday, June 8, 2015

Surviving Bear Island

by Paul Greci

This past Friday, June 5, 2015, Marcy and I posted our answers to Paul’s debut novel Surviving Bear Island. Today, you get to read Paul’s favorite's.

Great answers, Paul! We can’t wait for our readers to read the novel. And hopefully to give us a few of their favorites, too.

1) What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?

Part of me wanted to go back and just stay. It would be easier that what I was doing now. But I knew that choosing the easy path meant choosing death. And I wanted to live. P. 90.

2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?

Chapter One: I scanned the water. No sign of the sea lions. And the waves seemed to be calming down. Little did I know I would be upside down in the water in less than an hour—fighting for my life.

3} Who is your favorite secondary character and why?

Surviving Bear Island has one primary character. I’d say my favorite secondary character is Tom’s father because even though he isn’t present for most of the story, Tom’s relationship to him continues to develop.

4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?

Sometime toward morning the heavy rain and wind died, replaced by a fine mist, like the ground had taken as much moisture as it could and was spewing it back as fog. P. 163

5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?

Tom’s father: “When you’re alone in the wilderness, everything is magnified.” P. 43

Living in Alaska for 25 years, Paul has seen bears fishing for salmon, a pair of bald eagles building a nest, polar bears gnawing on a whale carcass, 10,000 walruses hauled out together on the Bering Sea coast, and 120,000 caribou gathered on the Arctic Coastal Plain. And when he’s not teaching school or exploring the Alaskan wilderness, Paul Greci is thinking up ways to keep hungry moose out of his garden. His debut novel, Surviving Bear Island is a 2015 Junior Library Guild Selection.


Having completed the first draft of this novel 10 years ago, and then countless drafts since then, I feel incredibly fortunate to have found a home for this book. Six years into the revision process Surviving Bear Island morphed from a third-person young adult novel into a first-person middle grade novel. The main roadblock I ran into when writing Surviving Bear Island was how to write a story with primarily one character and have it have authentic emotional depth and complexity. Early drafts of my story were very plot heavy and episodic. As the years went by and I wrote other stories where characters were interacting with each other, I developed my skills for exploring emotional depth, and also for writing in first person. I think those other manuscripts I wrote gave me the tools I needed to transform a single-character third-person narrative into a single-character first-person narrative that was much more character-driven and emotionally authentic. As my agent was trying to sell a different manuscript, we started working on getting Surviving Bear Island ready for submission and then started subbing it simultaneously with the other manuscript, and it found its home at Move Books.

Congratulations to Paul on his debut novel, Surviving Bear Island and for the novel being chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection. Way to go, Paul!

To read more about Paul Greci’s debut novel, Surviving Bear Island, please go to:

Kirkus Review: “Bear Island is a challenging environment to survive but a terrific thrill on the page. (Adventure. 9-14)”   https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/paul-greci/surviving-bear-island/
Junior Library Guild Selection: Surviving Bear Island is a Junior Library Guild Selection in the High Interest Middle Category.


  1. Thanks for hosting me!!:-) I'm just back from a trip in Surviving Bear Island country and am now on the road with occasional internet access.

  2. We enjoyed the read and enjoyed reading your answers! Good luck with the book.