Kenneth Campbell never planned on being a published author. In fact, he never planned on writing a book at all. He calls his novel a “family ordeal”—Stories I Lived is a book that took life with more than Campbell’s crisp, picturesque writing, but also the encouragement of his family and the art of his brother-in-law.
During his adult life, Campbell was an auto-dealer and a radio podcast host. His wife, Eleanor, was a bookkeeper. Between the two of them, he says, they had a lot of customers, friends, and family. “We were doing upwards of two or three hundred Christmas cards every year and it just got to be such a hassle. Eleanor suggested just doing letters as we got older, but I said, ‘oh, letters are boring,’” explains Campbell. “So I started writing old stories from growing up and that became our new tradition during the holidays.” These riveting, humorous stories that often end in a hard-learned life lesson became eagerly anticipated by the couples’ friends and family. So much so, in fact, that they encouraged him to put them in a book.
Campbell considers literature to have always been a passion of his, so the idea of publishing a novel was never unrealistic. In 2004, Stories I Lived took to print. The illustrations were done by his brother-in-law, Ron Livingston. Campbell’s annual stories have since continued, however, with his most recent work a story of his dreaded childhood haircuts. His favorite story he’s written is called The Door in the Mountain, which also seems to be a fan favorite.
“I was raised way up in the mountains as a boy—cowboy country,” he says. “Whenever I want to write, I go up there. We have a little hideaway where it’s quiet and there aren’t any distractions.” Campbell longs to write stories that teach his readers something or inspire them to live a bright and wild story of their own. He feels as if so much modern literature has little to no redeeming quality. “Nowadays, if you want to make it as a writer, it seems like you’ve gotta just write pretty nasty in my opinion,” he explains. “Coarse language, a lot of fiction, a lot of immorality.” Because of this, Ken Campbell finds comfort in knowing he’s writing something more valuable with more redeeming quality. He wants young writers to write what they feel, just as he did.
Kenneth Campbell says his future plans with writing are to make more of his friends and family smile with his joyous stories during the holidays. Perhaps one day we’ll see a sequel. For a thought-provoking read that is guaranteed to make you smile and savor life’s simplest of times, order a copy of Ken Campbell’s Stories I Lived today. Originally published through www.tsibooks.com, the book is also available on Amazon at DPGazette.com/kcampbell affiliate link.
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