‘Meet the Author’ with Ken Harris
Ken Harris, local author, has published his humorous novel called, “How Throckmorton Quattlebottom became King of North San Juan.” We caught up with Harris and threw a few questions at him about his book and how he became a writer.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in Whittier, California in 1933. My first memories are of running free with my dogs on a rancheria in San Diego County.
At age five my parents put shoes on my feet and sent me to school. I never fully recovered.
For my sins I became an eighth grade teacher. I retired from Grizzly Hill School in 1997.
I have been married to the same woman for 61 years. We have taught on Guam and in Spain, as well as California.
We have two children, two grandchildren and a bossy dog. Currently I write, sing the and play dreadful bridge.
What brought you this area?
We became acquainted with this area back in the 1960s when we were connected with the Western States Trail Ride. (We have both made the ride.) Later in life, after returning from Spain and trying life in civilized Southern California, we moved up to the San Juan Ridge in 1980.
How did you get into writing?
I started school in 1939. I went into first grade (no kindergarten) where they were teaching reading by the gestalt method, rather than phonics.
At the end of the first year, I couldn’t even read my own name. That summer my mother checked out alphabet books from the library and she taught me to read under our grape arbor, assisted by Kool Aid.
She also bought me a kiddie typewriter, one with a big rotating wheel. I wrote stories about my imaginary friends (for we lived in the country and real friends were not readily accessible). I even issued a weekly newspaper about those friends.
What is your favorite book or who is your favorite author?
I’m old now. I’ll be 84 next month, so I don’t take anything very seriously any more. My favorite author has to be Lewis Carroll.
What is your book about?
My book is about how a young man, Throckmorton Quattlebottom, becomes heir to the Kingdom of North San Juan by accidentally making the grumpy Princess Sophronia laugh, a thing she had never done before.
The story involves a malevolent goat, a nine-meter chicken, a genie with a speech impediment and a rain god who hates rain.
Do you see why Lewis Carroll is my favorite author?
What inspired you to write this book?
I drink a lot. No, that’s not the right answer. I have a good imagination, and sometimes I let it run amok.
What do you find most challenging about writing a book?
Staring at a blank page, although my next book is mostly written. Editing is no fun, either. And finally, there’s a special ring in Dante’s Inferno where you have to market your own book.
What is your key takeaway or message you hope readers find in your book?
Message? With this book? Nothing. It is to be enjoyed. It is to be read aloud, because I play with words a lot. I have been active in community theater for decades, and I love to read aloud. That’s basically how these stories were written.
Where can people find your book?
Throckmorton is available on Amazon, Kindle, and there may be a few copies at The Open Book.
What would you consider your perfect day?
That would be a day when the words flowed easily, my high notes sounded good and we won at the bridge table.
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