Incline couple both publish books during pandemic
Special to the Sierra Sun
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — For one Incline Village couple, retirement doesn’t mean their work is done. Authors Douglas and Beverly Keil took the opportunity of being isolated because of the pandemic to each write new books.
Douglas and Beverly, who have been together for 45 years, met in Buffalo, New York where they both grew up. They both worked in publishing then Douglas moved onto sales and Beverly worked at the corporate level of the Washington Post.
They were living in Washington D.C. when the World Trade Center towers fell on Sept. 11 2001. They took it as a sign to slow down, so they retired and moved out west to live in the mountains that they’d loved visiting.
“We both did a lot of writing in our jobs… but it wasn’t until we retired and moved out here that we got into writing for pleasure,” Beverly said.
Beverly said that their main goal when they retired was to stay both physically and mentally active. The writing is where the mental activity comes into play.
Pickleball: The Bitchin’ Kitchen and Dinks For All
The couple loved playing pickleball long before they moved to Incline but when they moved there, they realized there wasn’t really anywhere to play. So, nearly a decade ago, they convinced the district to paint official courts. When the courts first went up, they could hardly convince anyone to play but now the courts are almost always busy.
“As part of growing pickleball in Incline, I would write a weekly newsletter just giving people some playing tips and strategies and review a rule,” Beverly said.
She said she tried to keep the newsletter funny with bite-sized pieces of information and she got a lot of positive feedback on them.
“People were encouraging me to write a book about it and once we were on lock down in the early stages of COVID, I took it seriously,” Beverly said adding that she just sat down and started putting it all together.
Out of that grew Beverly’s latest book, “Pickleball: The Bitchin’ Kitchen and Dinks for All.”
“The kitchen is a special part of the court, it’s the first seven feet on either side of the net and it has its own special set of rules that make the game more challenging,” Beverly said.
Beverly, who is very active with the Pet Network, has also written, “Diary of a Dumpster Pup,” about her journey rescuing an abandoned puppy.
While she’s not writing her own books, she is also helping workshop and edit Douglas’ books.
While Beverly likes to write non-fiction, Douglas keeps his books more in the fiction genre, although always fact-based and reality focused.
“All my novels are character driven,” Douglas said. “So I take a piece of science, a piece of history, something that most people don’t know anything about and I put my character in that situation and from then on, I just let it grow.”
“Killdeer,” follows a woman in Washington D.C. at the start of her career as a lawyer. Douglas likes to set his books in locations they’ve lived, since he is familiar with them and can make the settings more realistic.
Once, while playing pickleball, Douglas met a man who was a guard at a SuperMax prison. He told Douglas about a prisoner who had been an FBI agent and was eventually outed as being a spy.
“That intrigued me just in itself and because it was a true story and I could research it, I just kind of developed around it and made it into my own story,” Douglas said.
“Doug’s books are typically inspired by a real situation, a real person and I always dread that somehow we’re going to have some libelous situation so we make sure we change the names entirely and the cities and some of the situations,” Beverly said. “But he takes a bit of truth and imagines a background story to it or where it takes them.”
Douglas said he was never a good sleeper so he does a lot of his writing around two and three in the morning.
“You don’t have the rest of the day to interfere,” Douglas said. “So, those couple of hours just pass like magic.”
Beverly, on the other hand, likes to do the majority of her writing in the afternoon after she’s completed a few tasks around the house. When they do write at the same time, they write on separate floors of the house.
Once Douglas is done with his first draft of the book, Beverly reads it. First she reads it all the way through with no pencil to get a feel for the book, then reads it again, pencil in hand.
“Then we sit down together and go over the whole story and look for any holes in the plot,” Beverly said. “I ask him questions and he wants to know if I got a certain thing out of a certain section or not. That’s the real collaboration.”
“That’s the fun part,” Douglas adds.
Then, Beverly will read it one final time. While she’s going through the book multiple times, which can take up to a year, Douglas starts on his next book.
Douglas comes up with the title, while Beverly designs the cover, usually using a part of a piece of art they’ve collected from around the world.
In addition to Beverly’s help, they said their cats, Rowdy, Siena and Whisper, “help” too, often walking across the keyboard while they are writing. Douglas said he blames any major mistakes on them, but he also likes to include them as characters in the story whenever possible.
Both of their new books, as well as their other books can be found on Amazon. They said they welcome feedback from anyone who reads them.
Laney Griffo is a staff writer for the Tahoe Daily Tribune, a sister publicaiton to the Sierra Sun. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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