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My Journey to River Rules


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Stevie Z. Fischer

 Lots of people ask me how I came to write River Rules. First off, it’s fiction, a valentine to a place I’ve grown to love as well as a call to action. Growing up in New York City, I was far more comfortable on the subway than in nature. I actually wasn’t really sure that nature was more than unpredictable weather and disgusting bugs.


After studying Russian and French in college, I couldn’t get a job. No surprise, really, but I could pronounce French wines beautifully and held my liquor well. That helped up to a point, both in wine sales and working in international banking after my MBA. Long story short, I enjoyed the writing opportunities in banking and finance far more than the business side. Hang in there with me, I’m getting to River Rules!


We moved to the wilds of Connecticut for my husband’s job; good for him, very tough for me. Kids and multiple self-reinventions followed. But nothing changed my life so much as parenting, paying attention, getting a high-energy dog, and teaching college writing.


My crazy dog, Penny, and my students provided the creative sparks for River Rules. Penny loved long walks along the Connecticut River, and surprisingly, so did I. We met dog lovers, eagle watchers and so many kind-hearted people who shared their love and fears for nature in New England. My teaching at various universities and colleges in Connecticut put me on the front lines of social change, particularly after the Great Recession when so many people went back to school. First-generation, returning military veterans, young people with big dreams, awful debt and challenging lives, their voices filled my head. I am honored to share in River Rules some of what both groups taught me and to work for environmental and social justice.

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