Local author D.S. Edwards releases his first book Collective Retribution

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - D.S. Edwards, author of ‘Collective Retribution', poses for a photo.

The United States is on the verge of collapse.

Such is the backdrop for a new novel by Prineville author D.S. Edwards, who described it as a “prophetic look at the coming fall of the United States, and those who will be the catalyst for her destruction.”

“Collective Retribution” is his first book, though he is no stranger to the pen, having written for the Cascade Business Journal, Prineville Territory, and the Central Oregonian.

Born the son of a teacher, school “bored the crud” out of him, the 45-year-old Edwards said. Nonetheless, his passion for writing took root in high school.

“I had a teacher when I was a junior — an English teacher. I had to make up a couple of English credits so I could get my diploma. So, I took her writing class. I discovered that I really, really liked to write. I like to create. So I did really well in that class. It was the first class that I ever felt like working in. Of course, I got straight As in it, and I thought, ‘This is kind of fun. I'd like to do this.’ And then life happened, and I kind of got away from writing for a while. I’m back to it. They say you go back to your first love.”

Edwards had a variety of jobs in the intervening years.

Right out of high school, he started his own business and did pretty well, he said, but after seven years, got “kind of burned out.” He went into advertising.

“That wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do.” Even so, he took another advertising job with Cascade Business News.

“That wasn’t what I wanted to do, so I decided I was going to produce and host a national outdoor television show. I didn't know anything about it, so I went out, learned, and got the gear together, and spent three years getting it done.”

“Hunting in God’s Country” aired on the Outdoor Channel. Edwards hosted it, wrote the story board, and produced the show.

“It was great fun. I got free guns, free bows, camos, pickups, but when it came to paying the bills — I’ve got to do something else.”

That something else was a courier company, Alpine Express Northwest, which he founded and has been running for several years.

“It’s kind of funny,” Edwards mused. “I’m always wanting to do something different. I don’t know so much if I get bored, or don’t feel challenged enough, so I’ve got to go out and do something different.”

The inspiration to write a book came out of the blue — literally.

“I was in a meeting in Oklahoma City and I got on a plane to come home,” he explained, “and I opened up the laptop, and I thought, ‘I think I’ll write a book.’ So, I just started writing. It took me a year and a half and I finished it. Then it took another year to get everything else done. The writing’s the easy part.”

Edwards grew up in John Day, Ore., later moved to Bend, and then to Prineville in 1992. Readers will recognize many of the locations referenced in his book.

“Most of the storyline takes place in Eastern Oregon. There’s one chapter that takes place in Crook County, Redmond, to Crook County, to Wheeler County. Then probably 40 percent of the book takes place in Grant County, Seneca, John Day, Harney County, Burns. So it’s stuff that people recognize.”

According to Edwards, “Collective Retribution” is a dire warning to America.

“I want people to read it, and even though it’s fictional, I want them to identify with it, and look at the parallels to what’s happening now. And it might wake people up to maybe turn the corner, and go back to the more traditional American values that the country was founded on, ‘cause if we don’t, we’re going to lose the country.”

He’s concerned that it might be too late.

“I think we’ve gone so far one direction, to where it’s going to be almost mathematically impossible without divine intervention, to go back the other way. When you’ve got close to 50 percent of the population relying 100 percent on the government for their daily sustenance, it’s almost impossible to go back the other way. Self-reliance is completely going away. That desire, that drive to better yourself, to go out and start a business, to go out and do this or that, to get ahead, that drive is going away.”

A portion of the profits from his book, Edwards said, will be donated to the Gary Sinise Foundation. Having starred in the television series CSI New York and also appeared in the movie Forrest Gump, he is a strong supporter of military veterans. According to Edwards, 100 percent of the money collected by the Sinise Foundation goes to veterans, while the administrative costs come out of Sinise’s own pocket.

“I really liked his model for his charity to help veterans,” Edwards said, “so I got in contact with them, and we reached an agreement where 10 percent of all the net proceeds from the book goes to his charitable foundation.”

Edwards said his book is available in all the different electronic formats — as well as in hard- and soft-cover — from all the usual Internet vendors. The Corner Cup coffee shop in John Day will host a signing on Dec. 21, and there will be one in Prineville — location to be announced — sometime later this winter.

Collective Retribution deals with a subject that Edwards said he’s very passionate about, and he hopes it will have an impact.

“I want to make a difference in the world, and the way I know how to make a difference — I’m not a politician, I’m not somebody famous — is through the written word.”

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