Vashon Island author Will North will read from and sign his book “The Long Walk Home,” recently issued in paperback, and share excerpts from his new novel to be released next spring, “Water, Stone, Heart,” at Books by the Way.
The reading will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, June 27.
Last August, North came to Vashon to visit a friend, and as he put it, “simply never left.” The Island had the right feel for North, and while he is new to Vashon, North is no stranger to islands in general, particularly Great Britain.
That area captured North’s interest back in 1968 when he spent a year living in England, so it comes as no surprise that “The Long Walk Home,” North’s 14th book but first work of fiction, takes place in a remote valley in northwest Wales, and “Water, Stone, Heart” is set in Cornwall, England.
What does surprise North, whose retinue of works includes nonfiction ghostwriting for Pre-sident Bill Clinton, Vice Pre-sident Al Gore and a famous team of Everest climbers, among other notables, is what he calls “the bizarre process of writing fiction.” North says he never sets up the plot in advance, rather “the action of the story shows up as I write. I start with an idea, and then the characters start to bully me around.”
North’s idea for “The Long Walk Home” — about a man who journeys to a Welsh mountaintop to scatter his ex-wife’s ashes — germinated from a real-life experience.
“Gwynne is a true representation of my late wife,” North said, referring to the name of the wife in the novel, and North did travel to Wales to scatter her ashes. But the rest of the book took on a life of its own.
The result is a poignant story that, according to The Seattle Times, “movingly conveys the life-changing effects of love between two middle-aged people with a lot of unshared history.”