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Local author pens post-apocalyptic novel

'Coyote' features familiar Clackamas County locations

Download the debut of local author David Shireman and you might find some truth tucked among the fiction.

That’s because Shireman’s story — written under the pen name David L. Foster — is set in and around eastern Clackamas County, including Sandy, Damascus and the Villages of Mt. Hood. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Coyote is local author David Shiremans first work, and is written under the pen name David L. Foster.

“Coyote” tells the tale of a post-apocalyptic United States, one ravaged by an unexplained event that has left its inhabitants without electricity and fallen prey to ferocious creatures that prowl the city and countryside. The book’s titular character is a teenage girl struggling to survive in this changed world.

Shireman, who lives in Happy Valley and is a longtime Portland-area resident, worked as a teacher and school administrator before his current job as an instructional designer for online schools. Writing has been a hobby for many years.

“This is the first full novel that I’ve published,” he said. “The first one to make it off the hard drive, at least.”

The book is available for downloading for $2.99 at Amazon.com.

In crafting his story, Shireman turned to local landmarks for inspiration. The cover of the book is a photograph of Mount Hood that was taken from Sandy’s popular Jonsrud Viewpoint.

That’s not the only notable spot that makes it into Shireman’s story, though. Readers will also find Sandy High School in his book, as well as several well-known highways and retail shops. The book begins in the wetland trails between Happy Valley Park and Happy Valley elementary and middle schools. It ends at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood.

For Shireman and many of his readers, these will be ordinary, everyday locations, but to his heroine Coyote, they are stops on a journey she must make to find safety.

“It was fun writing about a familiar setting in a really different way,” he said.

Joining Coyote on her odyssey are several companions, including a dog, a Portland State University professor and an ex-con. As the story evolves, so does Coyote. At first, she struggles to make connections with others, preferring to remain solitary. Ultimately, she becomes her group’s leader.

“It was a really interesting concept to me, deconstructing prejudices,” Shireman said. “In real life, these people would never hang out together, and now they have to.”

Shireman said the book is the first of a series, and could be described as “found literature” in the way it is written. The book is set in the present-day, but told from a future perspective. At some point in years to come, the characters in the book have become folk heroes to a new generation, he explained. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - In writing his debut novel Coyote, David Shireman turned to local landmarks for inspiration. The book is available for download for $2.99 on Amazon.com

“It’s supposed to be the telling of the tale of how humanity fought back from the brink of ruin,” he said.