March 1, 2018–Stan Jones and Patricia Watts–How to collaborate on a book without ending up wanting to kill yourself, your collaborator, or both, and instead produce a book that someone actually wants to publish

Stan Jones is author of the Nathan Active mystery series, which is set in a fictional Inupiat Eskimo village modeled on Kotzebue. Five volumes have been published and the sixth–The Big Empty–is due out later this year from Soho Press.

He is also co-author with Sharon Bushell of “The Spill: Personal Stories from the Exxon Valdez” disaster.

The Nathan Active series has been optioned for television, but the producers don’t tell Stan much about how they’re actually doing with the project. Their attitude seems to be, “You took the money. Now take a hike.”

Stan was born in Anchorage and has also lived in Fairbanks and Kotzebue, where he flew Bush planes, but only for fun. He had careers as a journalist and as an environmentalist. He now lives with his wife in what is increasingly known–much to his dismay–as “trendy” Spenard. His wife is a state epidemiologist specializing in HIV and STDs, so much of her work is also in Spenard!


Patricia Watts was an “Air Force brat” born at Ladd Field (now Fort Wainwright). Three decades later, she returned to Alaska, after writing and editing for newspapers in Texas and Hawaii. There she continued a twenty-year journalism career as arts and features editor at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.

After raising two children, becoming a grandma, and finding her inner redhead, Watts published her first novel, Watchdogs, a steamy, noir mystery set in Fairbanks, in 2013.

Her newly published noir suspense novel, The Frayer, features a Fairbanks apartment building as one of the characters, along with the quirky residents inside its walls.

Watts collaborated with Alaska mystery novelist Stan Jones on The Big Empty, the next installment in the Nathan Active series, due to be released in late 2018.

Watts worked as a human rights investigator in Anchorage for nine years before recently relocating to San Diego, California, after twenty-six years in Alaska.