Our guest author this week, Alfred W. Bates–also known as Al–wrote The Wickie, a novel set around a lighthouse on the Oregon coastline in the 1861. A storm tragically takes the life of assistant lighthouse keeper Wyatt Saunders and sets in motion events that forever change the lives of his family; the head keeper, Gus Crosby; and the new assistant keeper, Jesse Fayette.
Gather ’round as we chat with this gentleman of gentlemen. Join the chat below, and you’re entered into a drawing for a signed copy of The Wickie.
**GIVE-AWAY RESULTS: The winner of Al’s give-away is Marilyn Ridgway. Congratulations, Marilyn!
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Lighthouse Al Before Lighthouses
Born and reared in Ohio, I am the older of two siblings. Our parents were Alfred and Alice Bates. I worked with my father on the farm as a young boy. In later years, I worked for farmers in the summer to make money to buy my first car.
After graduating from high school in 1955, I married my high school sweetheart, Rose. We had two boys. Our younger son died at the age of twenty-six.
Service to Country
At the age of seventeen, I joined the Army National Guard and served forty-two years, retiring from the Army as Chief Warrant Officer CW4. I also worked Federal Civil Service and retired with thirty-one years service.
After retirement, we sold our home in Arizona and began traveling this great country. Initially, we had not chosen any particular places to visit. Our goal was to just enjoy the sights and people we would meet along the way. One of our first destinations was to visit friends who had moved to Pennsylvania but were vacationing in New Jersey. They were entertaining their adult children on the day of our arrival and suggested we visit a lighthouse down the coast. We visited the lighthouse and got hooked.
This was the beginning of our joyous ten year trek of visiting lighthouses. We saw over 300. For two summers of those years, we enjoyed serving as tour guides at Umpqua River Lighthouse in Oregon where I gained more knowledge of lighthouses.
Due to Rose’s health, we ceased traveling after ten years and settled down in Texas. She died approximately two years later.
Inspiration to write my book, The Wickie, came while serving as the lighthouse tour guide. (Tweet That!) After learning historical events associated with the two Umpqua River Lighthouses, the work of the keepers, their families and lifestyle, I knew there were other people who would enjoy reading about those times. I titled my book The Wickie because the keepers in the old days nicknamed each other Wickie. They had to trim the wicks on the lantern to enable the light to burn bright.
The Wickie Debut Experience
I found it enjoyable, yet challenging, to collect data and pictures for use in The Wickie. I had written many letters and documents during my years of service and thought I knew how to write. But when I joined a writers group, I soon realized writing a novel is different.
My writing journey slowed with the death of my wife, but time passed and God gave me another chance at life. I met my second wife, Linda, in a local grief share program. She likewise is supportive of my writing.
After finally completing my manuscript, I chose a publisher in Oregon who worked with writers wanting to self publish. Their staff was very organized and carefully guided me through those unfamiliar publishing steps.
My first experience with transmitting an entire manuscript via the Internet was somewhat frightening. I soon adjusted, knowing my manuscript would become a book. I felt proud the day my books arrived at the house. All the stress and hard work I’d endured over the years finally paid off.
Insight and Looking Ahead
While looking at the stacks of books, I quickly realized those books wouldn’t sell themselves, and I would need the marketing materials I purchased with the publishing contract. Time has taught me self publishing is hard work and marketing the book is a challenge in itself.
Currently, I am writing a sequel to The Wickie. The working title is “Spirit of The Lighthouse.” Before starting the sequel, I took time to write a novella and a novelette to improve my writing.
A Final Note From Al
You can find me as Alfred W. Bates on Facebook: http://bit.ly/2ovwoeo
And on my blog: http://AlsLighthouses.blogspot.com
You may also purchase from me via email to: AWBates1955@gmail.com.
May you let your light shine to those around you.
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Thank you for joining our circle this week, Al. What an honor it has been to share you with others. You’ve captured our imaginations. Can’t wait to read your book!
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Lord, You order our days, even those that transpire in the deepest valleys of sorrow. You’ve done so in Al’s life, and we receive with gratitude the blessing of The Wickie, a story where Your light shines through darkness, pointing the way to You.