Granite Falls resident Brenda Ballard sat down to help her stepson with a family history project and soon realized that no one was recording any of her family's stories. After making a promise to a family friend, Ballard was writing a book entitled, "The Boy From Granite Falls" that included many of the family's adventures.
"'The Boy From Granite Falls' book idea came when I was helping my oldest stepson do research for a culture fair project on his grandpa Fred. It made me sad that his memories were fading and stories being forgotten," Ballard said. "A couple of years after that, I happened to meet his old pal, Rudy, who told me those same stories. He expressed that he wished he had written a book about all of the adventures he and Fred had in their teen years on the Mountain Loop. They are both gone, now, but my promise to Rudy was not forgotten and now their memories will be kept alive."
This wasn't a project that was completed overnight or even in a year's time. It took Ballard over 10 years to get the information together and start writing.
"By then, I had gathered a lot of information and had many hours of thought into it. Once at the keyboards, the stories flowed and before I knew it, book one was complete," she said.
The book is based in Granite Falls' mountain area in the 1930s and is based on her father-in-law Fred Ballard, who is the main character of the book.
"Fred Ballard is an amiable, witty teenager whose daring nature and ingenuity often land him in the midst of legendary adventures. Fit and energetic, Fred hikes in the majestic Cascade Mountains, fishes in the mill pond, picks blackberries (and has an unexpected guest), experiences the posh Big Four Resort, picnics next to nature's phenomenal ice cave creation, and sleds down the face of a glacier on roofing tin," Ballard says about her book.
Ballard reminds her readers that, "These stories have been passed through his family over the years, melded with the author's imagination and re-created in this humorous and unforgettable children's series entitled, "The Boy from Granite Falls."
Ballard has always been passionate about writing and started to explore its many avenues while in High School.
"I was in Journalism. I wrote poetry and the lyrics to songs that I would play on guitar. I joined the Army right out of High School and learned a lot about the significance of words. As an adult, my writing skills have been used for over 20 years in business related correspondence and calling foul in Letters to the Editor. My grandpa once told me that he always imagined I would be a writer but he really thought it would be more than a blip in the opinions column every so often," Ballard said.
This book is actually a series. Book two is entitled, "Weevil Biscuits" and book three is called, "Summer Turns To Fall" and is currently in manuscript form. There will also be another three books in the series.
"I have also nearly completed an unrelated book, "Billy's Buffalo Lake Adventures". It is a coming of age that takes place at Buffalo Lake on the Colville Reservation in Eastern Washington. I love this book and look forward to seeing it on the shelf with, "The Boy From Granite Falls" series."
"The Boy From Granite Falls" Book One received the Silver Medal in the Readers' Favorites Contest just two months after it was originally self-published in 2011 and 2012.
Book Two received Honorable mention the following year.
"In 2013 Tate Publishing accepted my work and offered a contract," Ballard said.
While the book won't be publicly released until April 22 it can be found at the Robin's Nest and the Granite Falls IGA in Granite and at the Arlington Co-Op, Getchell Junction (Hwy. 92 and Getchell/84th St. NE).
You can also purchase it on her website at www.theboyfromgranitefalls.com or on Ebay, and of course through Tate Publishing (https://www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-62854-043-7). It is also listed on Amazon.com.
She will also be at the Northwest Book Festival in Portland, Ore. on July 26.
Watch for other books from Ballard in the future.
"A friend of mine asked me to write a book about her and the tough journey her life has been. She will begin the Pacific Crest Trail next month and the plan is to have her book just about ready to go by the time she hits the northern point of her hike sometime towards August," Ballard said. "She will be emailing blog posts and private journal entries as she travels. I expect there to be much to write about and am excited for this wonderful opportunity."