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North Bend author Galen Kindley recently recounted on a gray fall day the genesis of his novel that was published this year. The idea for it came to him on a similar October day, he said, as the rain fell outside.
"I was sitting in this chair on an October evening," Kindley said last Friday while sitting inside his Forster Woods home. "And I started to think of what I was doing 20 years ago. I realized I was in Korea."
Korea is the setting for Kindley's first book, "Hearts of the Morning Calm," which was published this June.
"I didn't even think it would become a book," he said. "I thought I was going to write it and then tuck it away in the closet somewhere."
Once Kindley got to remembering his days as an Army helicopter pilot in Korea, he pulled up a chair to his laptop computer and started to write about the people and places he remembered. He kept writing, and soon a book began to take shape.
His brother found out about his endeavor and asked to read his manuscript. He thought it was good enough for others to read, and encouraged Kindley to start on what would become an almost perilous journey to find a publisher. Fortune, however, smiled on Kindley, and a copy editor submitted pages from the manuscript to an editor at Avid Press, a small publisher based in Michigan. A contract was soon inked.
Although the book drew heavily from his experiences in Korea, Kindley said a lot of it is rich with fiction.
"I always say I am the world's most boring man," Kindley said. "I would have to intertwine fiction in with real life in order for anyone to read it."
The books tells the tale of an Army helicopter pilot and his love affair with a Westernized, yet traditional Korean woman named Lee Kwang Young. The couple meet, fall in love and grow old together over the decades.
Although the plot may sound like a traditional Harlequin romance, Kindley insisted it is more of a mainstream love story. In writing the book, he rejected the romance genre's formulaic approach to characters and plot, wanting something different and more rewarding that has a deeper meaning and purpose than buff bodies and happy endings.
"I wanted the reader to walk away knowing something they didn't know before," Kindley said.
The book has been well received by readers and critics, and he has book signings every weekend until the end of the year. But Kindley admits he is still a struggling freshman writer and he doesn't have any plans to quit his day job at the Department of Transportation in Seattle.
But he does have plans to write another book, this time about a hikers trapped in the Cascade Mountains.
"I don't really have an ending yet. I just sit down and write," Kindley said. "My dream, though, would be to just write all day."
* For more information on Galen Kindley and "Hearts of the Morning Calm," see www.heartsofthemorningcalm.com.
You can reach Ben Cape at (425) 888-2311, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.