Kirkpatricks new novel is sure to hook readers
- Cliff Newell
- Lake Oswego Review - News
'The President's Pardon' is Jerry D. Kirkpatrick's first novel, but the West Linn writer with Lake Oswego ties hasn't hesitated to throw in enough hooks to instantly intrigue readers.
Things like giving away the conclusion of the novel in the first three words.
But the fun is in coming to understand just why Margaret Warren, the first female president of the United States of America, decides to pardon the woman who tried to assassinate her. Writing about a period that covers 40 years, Kirkpatrick, who onced lived in Lake Oswego, explains just how the pardon came about.
'The reader knows the answers to the mystery, but the characters don't,' Kirkpatrick said. 'When it's done well, people reading a novel get a kick about being in on the plot.'
Kirkpatrick fills 'The President's Pardon' with some hot topics of today, such as female presidents, assassination plots and terrorists, and he takes readers all over the globe, which reflects his own life spent traveling over much of the world.
There's even a local angle, with a subplot that involves a woman from Seaside who goes to Southeast Asia and becomes misidentified as a terrorist.
Kirkpatrick has had many careers prior to becoming a novelist, including being a journalist, information director for both colleges and corporations and currently as an attorney. The experience has prepared him for this wide-ranging book.
'I got the idea three and a half years ago when there was a lot of publicity about the possibility of a woman president, with Hillary Clinton,' Kirkpatrick said. 'I was flying 35,000 feet over Kansas when I talked about it with Carol Thomas (CEO of the Northwest Educational Laboratory). Six months later I got serious about it.'
While he's not someone who can sit and write for hours at a time - 'Two hours a day is max,' he says - Kirkpatrick's past experience as a writer has given him some excellent organizational skills. He outlined the 60 chapters of the novel with one sentence. He would write a draft of a chapter one day then rewrite it the next day.
'Writers are pretty well organized,' he said. 'We're used to laying things out. I've been developing a method over the years.'
Kirkpatrick also said he had an excellent network of friends in the communications field to read his work and provide comments.
Then came the tough part.
'The promotion work has been harder than writing the novel,' Kirkpatrick said. 'I knew a lot about writing and I thought I knew a lot about publicizing things, but it's taking more time and effort than I anticipated, and I'm really just getting started.'
Kirkpatrick has some good motivation going for himself: The example of his wife Corky, who died from cancer five years ago. 'The President's Pardon' is dedicated to her.
'She was totally energetic, she loved politics, she thrived on being with people and being involved,' Kirkpatrick said. 'Corky was never a marcher. In her own quiet way she did as much for promoting the equality for women as anybody. She was calm but persistent.'
Before the Kirkpatricks moved to West Linn, Corky Kirkpatrick was a reporter for and editor of the Lake Oswego Review, and she served on the Lake Oswego City Council in the 1970s.
'The President's Pardon' may be purchased from online sites for Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Border's Books.
'Bookstores don't all have space for by books by unknown writers,' Kirkpatrick said.
But if enough books are sold over the Internet, he said 'The President's Pardon' will start appearing on local bookshelves.