By Amy Joles
KINGSTON — More than one parent told Kingston Elementary Principal Lane Walker that kids would read more if they could just find a good book on hunting.
So he wrote one.
Released on May 4, “The Legend of The Ghost Buck” is slated to be the first in a series of realistic fiction books for young readers, called “Hometown Hunters.” The book chronicles a young Michigan hunter, who is in search of the great Ghost Buck.
Walker said a Ghost Buck is a term that hunters use to describe a massive buck that isn’t seen very often, but is thought to exist.
“There’s nothing spooky about it. It’s not really about ghosts,” he said. “The main goal of this book is to get kids outdoors.
“The greatest compliment that I could ever get is not selling thousands of books, but hearing that it got a kid outdoors—excited about hunting with their family. That’s the goal here.”
And, like the book’s main character, Boone Mason, Walker said he hopes kids will enjoy the outdoors, learn life lessons there and appreciate the beauty that is around them.
“Boone doesn’t have a very good relationship with his father,” Walker explained. “His father works a lot and he doesn’t really know how to talk to his dad.”
Boone also struggles with confidence and can’t shake the feeling that he will miss his shot at the Ghost Buck. It is only through finding his faith and confidence in himself that the young character begins to realize what it will take to down the trophy buck with his new bow—that is, if he can ever find the Ghost Buck.
Walker, the father of three young girls, said the book isn’t written for boys only.
“Girls will enjoy it because there are a lot of life lessons,” he said. “It’s really for everyone.”
The 140-page book is aimed at younger readers, but Walker said adults will also enjoy the read since it includes many realistic details about Michigan hunting.
Walker, an avid outdoorsman, is no stranger to hunting—or writing about his outdoor adventures. He and his brother, Ryan Walker, have authored the Tuscola County Advertiser’s Outdoor Obsession for nearly a decade. He has also been published in Michigan Outdoor News, Woods-N-Water News and a national Christian magazine.
Walker gained his first professional writing experience at the Advertiser, joining the staff as a summer intern in 2002. He was later hired to write sports and news while finishing his education degree at Saginaw Valley State University.
“It’s kind of like coming full circle,” he said. “I job shadowed (Brett McLaughlin) at the Advertiser when I was just 15. Then I became an intern and wrote part-time, then the Outdoor Obsession and now, I’ve finally published a book.”
Walker said he is “big on setting goals and working toward them,” and the book was just one of those goals that he set his sights on. Within five weeks, he penned his first draft of the book and then began the editing process.
Walker credited the Lord with providing him with the inspiration and idea to put the new book together.
In the future, Walker said his Hometown Heroes series will feature a turkey hunt in Nebraska and a brown bear hunt in Alaska. The second book is already underway.
“The Legend of The Ghost Buck” is available at several local stores for $7.99, including Gambles Do It Best Hardware, The Red Zone in Kingston, Dr. Kramer’s office in Sandusky and Wild John’s, east of Cass City. The book may also be purchased online at www.hometown-hunters.com (additional shipping fees apply).
Although Walker self-published the book in order to maintain control of his series, he did use many local businesses in the process, including Quad “A” Enterprises to design his website and Eric Johnson of Original Ink Company in Vassar to design a promotional banner. The books were printed in Grand Rapids.
Amy Joles is the editor of the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Amy Joles