My name is Brenda Ballard. I was raised in the Granite Falls/Lake Stevens area in Washington State. For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to write. My grandfather, who passed away September 13, 2010, would jab me with comments such as, "letters to the editor don't count." Unfortunately, my first book, The Boy From Granite Falls, came out last year and he didn't see it. He would have been quite proud!
The Boy From Granite Falls is based on the life of my late father in law, Fred Ballard, during his teen years in the 1930's in the mountain area outside of Granite Falls, Washington. It was a decade long dream to write this series as his legacy fades. I discovered this while helping my oldest stepson with a cultural fair project on his grandpa. There were some stories but it seemed as though different people had different versions.
Coming from a very close family, I found this disheartening and vowed to do my best to at least give a feel to what his childhood was like, even if I had to make it up in places. The series is considered historical fiction because of this.
Some of the stories I heard were verified when I happened to meet Fred's school chum, Rudy, and became friends with him. The church had called, asking if I would take an elderly, disabled man to the doctor. We got to talking on the way back from the appointment and I learned that he was Fred's pal! I told him that I had a picture of a guy but there was no name on it. We went to my house where I showed it to him...a tear rolled down his cheek as he quietly said, "That is me." The stories he told me over the next few years were the ones I had heard from Fred's family. It was a wonderful affirmation to say the least.
Books one and two are currently in print and can be found at www.theboyfromgranitefalls.com
as well as Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com and other fine online bookstores. Book three is currently only available in e-book form on Amazon.com (99-cents!) but does not have illustrations. Book four is in the midst of writing. There will be six books total in the series but I suspect there will be character off-shoots in the future.
I have chosen the genre of Young Adult on purpose. It takes me back to when I was that age and Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boys and so on captured my imagination. I like writing to those who choose not to subject themselves to profanity, colorful scenes and so on. There is enough out there to choose from and I get the sense that it is a relief to read a good book without these things. While my books are geared at the YA audience, most of my fans are adults.
In July, another book that is not related to the series above will be released. It is called Billy's Buffalo Lake Adventures and is a coming of age type of story line. Billy finds himself living with his grandmother on the Colville Indian Reservation after bad behavior leaves his widowed mother at her wit's end. One summer, a man who takes the youth under his wing and learning about his culture and heritage transforms the boy into a respectful young man. The release date coincides with the Pow Wow Trail's Nespelum dates. There will be a booth where I will sell copies and maybe do readings.
My books currently are available at Mountain Loop Books and Coffee in Darrington, Washington and Arlington Co-Op in Arlington, Washington. In April, they will be available at Upper Case Books in Snohomish, Washington.
I look forward to traveling to Portland, Oregon in July for their book fair and again in October for Wordstock. My baby steps are getting me closer to my goals...I'm on a five year plan, see....