Highline grad Eliot Baker publishes his first novel
By Ann Kendall
In every novel, inevitably there are a few strains of real life woven into the story. For 1995 Highline High School grad Eliot Baker, his debut novel The Last Ancient provides hints of boyhood pastimes and his time as a science journalist In Nantucket. The inscription on the inside cover of the book reads, “To Sharon Baker, for inspiring; to Gordon Baker, for believing.” Now living in Finland with his wife and two children, Eliot was led into the writing life by his mother Sharon, also a published novelist and noted speaker at local writers’ conferences. Summers spent sailing the San Juan Islands while watching his mother tap out narratives on her typewriter gave Eliot the spark that would lead him to today and the nearing publication of his first novel.
After high school, Eliot’s studies took him first to Pitzer College to study world literature, on to Harvard’s Extension School in pre-med and ultimately to Boston University for his M.S. in Science Journalism. For him, The Last Ancient brings together his studies in science and give The Last Ancient a realistic feel, “I developed a tremendous respect for science and the scientific method at Harvard Extension and Boston University, so when I do write about anything environmental, chemical, biological, or a physical process, I try to convey that respect by getting things right as much as possible. Its’ a letdown when a writer gets basic things wrong.” Indeed, the opening paragraph of The Last Ancient is a study in exquisite yet graphic details during the opening scene when main character Simon is on a journalistic hunt for information about animal mutilations and deaths.
Eliot believes that his move to Finland brought his creativity into focus – along with the encouragement of his father and wife (and a very helpful grandmother that helps with the children). One day in between classes at the English school where he teaches, as he stood gazing out the window a memory came to him about his days on Nantucket; he opened up his laptop and began to write what he describes as a "beautiful/sinister” narrative; after time spent alone in the Finnish woods at a family cabin with no running water or electricity he grew his now polished novel through multiple drafts with the help and critique of his wife, friends and of course his publisher. Eliot is nearly done with the first draft of his second novel set in a fictionalized Burien high school about a group of students who have lost a loved one and together experience visits from a mysterious golden crow.
The Last Ancient is set for publication December 2, 2013 by Champagne Books; more information is available on the Champagne website: http://www.champagnebooks.com/eliotbaker.htm; to read the first chapter of The Last Ancient go to: http://eliotbakerauthor.blogspot.com/.
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