Granby: Local author puts spirit into new book
December 28, 2007
They say, Write what you know, Katie Gailey said, fidgeting in her chair like one of her excited first-through-fifth-grade reading students.Gailey, a part-time teacher at Granby Elementary who reluctantly retires this year after 11 years, loves history especially historical research. She celebrates the release of her second historical fiction book, and, like her first book, it features the history of Grand County.This passion for history has taken on a great deal of Gaileys present, and possibly quite a bit of her future. The hippie girl originally discovered the area during a Rainbow Festival and felt a spiritual connection to Grand County. It took her 13 years to come back, but she knew this was the place I wanted to be.She and her husband, Terry, moved here in 1995 and that winter she started both books. Back then, the libraries were small and, as an avid reader, Gailey found it hard to quench her thirst for books there. Terry said, Why dont you just write one?, and Gailey dove into the research.During her Thanksgiving week off, Gailey began to organize the second work, writing sometimes eight hours a day. And now, along with a second printing of her first book, Bloody Grand, her second book, Spirit Lake was released earlier this month.This second story takes place 6,000 years ago and paints a picture of what Middle Park and the Fraser River Valley looked like then. Part of a clan of early man has to leave its home when hunting grounds become scarce and there is dissension among some of the tribesmen that leads to a suspected murder.Forced out of the high plains, they find a new home along the Colorado River, taking shelter in the areas rock cliffs during the cold season and discovering the adventures of the lakes, wildlife and of life itself.Readers meet silver-eyed Sachi, daughter of Arna and Mensa, Headman of the Clan People. The book follows her life. From the age of 7 to 19, Sachi lives through the hardships of the elements and of the people as a woman in a mans world.Although it is said that no tribe actually settled here at that time, it is fun to picture it and Gailey paints descriptive images, especially when it comes to early mans tools, shelters, clothing and traditions.I mainly write about strong women, said Gailey, a strong woman herself although she admits she still cries at the end of Bloody Grand. She said the stories pretty much take over themselves. Once you create a character they take over the story.After her first publisher went belly-up with a hefty sum of Gaileys investmentsl, she said she wasnt going to publish again. But encouragement from a good friend helped her pursue another publisher. Lyndia (Burr) was my cattle-prod on this one, she said. She really helped me a lot.At first I wrote for myself, Gailey said, but once she gained her courage she sent copies off to various publishers, many of whom told her to get an agent. I got encouraged from that and I said OK, Ill try it.She kept her first uncashed royalty check, for $29, as a memento of her accomplishment. Like Sachi, who found a special place in Spirit Lake, Gailey has found a special bond with Grand County. The hippie girl at a Rainbow Festival has come along way, and shes overflowing with stories to share. Ive lived quite a wild life, the author said.Her future projects include Irish Maggie, about a ghost in Georgetown in the 1880s and childrens book. Travels to places like Alaska and Wales have also inspired pieces shes working on as a sequel to Bloody Grand called Bloody Yukon and a story about Kymry women in the 1600s.And for something completely different, Gailey hopes to finish a funny and poignant story about the 1960s called Rowen Casey, Lover of Life.Her future is paved in pages to fill as she continues to share the joys of history and storytelling. Gailey said she wants other aspiring writers to know, If I can do it, you can do it. Copies of her first two literary endeavors are available at the Web sites of Barnes & Noble, Borders and Target; at Cascades in Winter Park, Wild West Trading Company and at the Juniper Library. Bloody Grand sells for $17.95, Spirit Lake is $15. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.