When 75-year-old Kalispell-based author Randy Keel set out to write his first novel five years ago, he never imagined he would be working on a series in a new home nearly 2,000 miles away. .
A retired insurance agent, Keel was living in Friendship, Tennessee, with his wife Donna when the idea for his first book, “An Unexpected Success,” came to him.
Keel was watching Laura Ingraham cover the topic of illegal immigration on her Fox New Channel show when the first threads of her first political campaign began to form in her head.
During the event, Ingraham interviewed several women whose loved ones died in incidents involving illegal immigrants, a situation she weaves into the plot of her book.
“I knew what happened with the loss of people, so I was really hurt when I heard people on that show talking about the loss of their loved ones in the border disaster,” Keel said. “Sometimes I’m in tears.”
Self-published through Xlibris and released in May 2021, the plot of “An Unintended Fate” follows retired attorney Sam Riley as he seeks revenge for the death of his wife, daughter and his granddaughter when they died in a car accident involving a drug-running illegal alien.
Instead of blaming the driver of the other car, Riley has decided to turn his anger against the politicians who allowed the man into the country in the first place.
The story follows Riley as he becomes a murderer and murderer, and eventually, a politician himself.
“The only way Sam can get people’s attention is to do something terrible,” Keel said of the plot. “The strange thing is, this book is more relevant now than when I wrote it. We have people just pouring over our southern border and we don’t know who they are.”
When it came to writing his first novel, Keel said it wasn’t easy, but he was happy.
“Writing fiction is a lot of fun. Whatever comes into my mind, I can do it on paper,” he said. “I’ve been writing for about a year. I’m going to go on these sign and all I could think about was writing it down in the book. I have never written so much in my life. Writing a book was not easy, but it was sure it was fun.”
With his daughter and son-in-law living in Kalispell, Keel and his wife (a retired teacher) decided to pull up stakes and move to Montana themselves after the book was published.
“We came to visit and it was very different from what we were used to in Tennessee. We loved it. We decided if we wanted to move, this was our best opportunity,” he said. said Keel. “We sold our land, our house and everything in it – even our Christmas decorations. We loaded what little we had left into our two cars and headed to Kalispell and we really like it here.
Keel said he spends his time these days enjoying his family and working on his second novel, a sequel to his first title “Cedar Creek Chronicles.”
The new book is a semi-autobiographical account of Sam Riley’s early life, told from the streets of his hometown of Cedar Creek, Tennessee.
“I wanted to do something first in my first book to show from a young age how this person got to where he is in my first book,” Keel said. “What does it take for a normal person to leave a quiet life to do what Sam did in “An Unexpected Consequences?”
Riley said there is no set date for the release of her second book, but she hopes to have it done soon.