April 3, 2000
Bothell resident Ken Larson has been around the world amassing experiences, interesting interactions, and memorable moments which have given his life enormous color.
His various careers, as an instructor pilot for the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War, an attorney, and a fisherman, have taken him to Somalia and parts of East Africa, Micronesia, Guam, and other South Pacific islands.
Years ago, he began writing nonfiction pieces, articles, and textbook chapters as a way to communicate his experiences and ideas. About three years ago, Larson decided to try writing a novel. The result is a book entitled An Escape to Calpe, an action-adventure thriller soon to be distributed by The 1stBooks Library (at www.1stbooks.com on the Web) in both printed and electronic form. The book will also be available in paperback from all major bookstores.
An Escape to Calpe takes the reader from the jungles of war-torn Vietnam, through Europe, and into the deserts of East Africa. It is the story of former Vietnam War P.O.W. Dusty Rhodes, who stumbles upon a terrorist plot against the U.S. involving sophisticated and deadly high-tech weapons against which there might be no defense.
Larson's ideas for the story stemmed from interactions with Vietnam War vets while in a military hospital, and his experiences in Somalia and the Republic of Djibouti.
"I was living in Somalia during the start of one of their civil wars," explains Larson, "and while I was in Djibouti, there were several acts of terrorism that happened, both of which impacted me greatly. It took me two months to write the first draft of this book, but three years to edit and refine it. The current version doesn't really resemble much of the first draft, but I'm delighted with the results."
Larson gets mental pictures of his characters and they become real to him as he writes. He says, "The characters take over and lead me to places that weren't in my original plan. I think about them a lot and they get involved in my life. It sounds funny, but for a writer, it's an exciting part of the creative process."
The action-adventure genre has always interested Larson and he cites Ludlum, Clancy, and LeCarré among his favorite authors. It's the combination of travel and the adventures that come with traveling, in addition to the suspense of not knowing what will happen next, that interest him.
In An Escape to Calpe, Larson focuses on terrorism, noting that, "the risks are real and the fear brought by terrorism in today's society should be taken very seriously." He says that his book has a message to readers regarding the reasons for terrorism.
"There may be reasons why there are terrorists who hate the U.S.," explains Larson. "They don't necessarily hate Americans themselves, but rather America's foreign policy. The American people become targets of their violence and anger against the U.S. government. I wanted to show the futility of war and violence in my book and show how violence can affect people, particularly the characters in my book."
Policy and politics will be a recurrent theme in Larson's upcoming novel, American Justice, due out in summer. The book focuses on a civilian army that tries to reclaim the streets from America's most notorious drug gangs.
When Larson is not busy writing fiction, he is involved with his technology business, Environment Water Solutions, Inc., a company he founded ten years ago, specializing in the design and installation of ozone water treatment systems. He also has several Internet stores which he operates. His passion, though, is flying.
"I try and devote as much time as possible to flying my aerobatics plane," says Larson. "I've been flying since 1966, and it's my favorite thing to do. Being up there is a spiritual experience for me. I also do aerobatics training programs and am working on writing a workbook for aerobatics and flight safety."
Though Larson has lived with his family in Bothell on and off for the past ten years, his wandering feet long to take him to South America and the Caribbean, where he would like to spend time living among the various cultures in that part of the world. He knows he will continue putting pen to paper in his efforts to tell his stories.
"Writing for me will always be a necessary way to communicate my ideas," explains Larson.