Kent Walsh, 70, has spent nearly his entire life in Clark County.
Since age 3, he’s been a native of this area while bouncing around several Southwest Washington locations. Vancouver, Brush Prairie, Hockinson and Yacolt are all places he’s resided, with Yacolt being home for more than 30 years.
Today, Walsh lives a short drive away in Seaview on the Long Beach peninsula, enjoying the retired life. But of all his years in Clark County, being an author is one of the last things he ever thought he’d be largely known for.
Just a couple weeks ago, Walsh published his seventh book, “Legend of Beards Hollow.”
The book itself is set around 150 years ago on the coast near the Columbia River. In the story, William Robinson was captured by vicious pirates. After escaping into the sea, he drifted for many days with little food or water before being rescued by a merchant ship. After a tragic shipwreck on the mighty Columbia River bar, William washes ashore in Beards Hollow. He then meets and marries the love of his life, Elizabeth. After falling into extreme financial difficulty, he begins his long search for the pirate treasure buried in the whispering sands of a large cove, a place filled with secrets called Beards Hollow.
According to Walsh, the book appeals to people any age and is 148 pages in length. He says his writing style doesn’t include much vulgarity, so it’s suitable for young kids, yet its humor and adventure make it a good read for adults as well.
Most all of Walsh’s stories border this form of “wholesome and very family oriented,” which makes perfect sense given his writing background. For years, he said he wrote kids stories and short poems with characters for relatives just for fun.
“I loved giving them (his stories) on Christmas,” said Walsh.
After a while, his wife Madeline basically forced him into trying to actually publish one.
“She told me, ‘I want you to publish that stuff, it’s very good,’ so I just did finally,” says Walsh.
He gives her credit for most of his published work.
“Everything I’ve written is based on a life connection,” he says.
His surroundings while growing up here greatly influenced his imagination.
“I had a lot of adventures in the outdoors there (Clark County), and so I think it’s easy for me to fantasize about those things still today,” said Walsh. “Had I not had that life there I don’t know what I would have done.”
Though this latest book is his favorite of them all at the moment, Walsh is proud of all his books. Publishing and selling began for him in 2007, but he didn’t think it would last 10 years.
“I never thought I would be doing this, and still doing this,” he said plainly. Apparently after each new book, Walsh tends to tell himself and others “OK, now I’m done writing,” but it obviously never happens.
“My mind just starts turning again and I’ll get another story thought up,” he said with a laugh.
If Walsh writes again, he says it could be for a sequel to Legend of Beards Hollow. According to Walsh, his books can be found at; booklocker.com, barnesandnoble.com, or “pretty much anywhere books are sold.” The paperback version runs for about $14 and the e-book version for about $5.