Retirement fosters a literary life


Dale Garland, OD, enjoys dabbling in novel-writing, having completed his first mystery thriller recently.

Dale Garland, OD, has an unusual lucky number. It's 39.

Chances are, No. 39 also will pertain to his second career. Dr. Garland is a novelist ( His first book, Letters from Sweetwater, was published in October 2009. So far, the mystery thriller has sold several hundred copies, but that's before the publicity campaign kicks in, coordinated by Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists in Austin, TX. So far, the firm has represented 38 authors who wrote best sellers. If things go as planned, Dr. Garland will be No. 39.

After retiring, he spent 3 years part time writing his book. It started out totally different, he said, explaining that after developing his characters, they took over, changing themselves and the plot.

Although the book is published by Revival Nation Publishing, a Christian publisher based in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, he categorizes it as more Southern literature than Christian teachings. It's not at all preachy, he said. Instead, it offers several levels. Those reading between the lines will sense spiritual meaning. Others will simply be entertained.

Without revealing too much about the book, one of the characters, Keith Rose, uncle to the book's central protagonist, travels to visit his family in Sweetwater, NC to unveil a dark family secret. Instead, he meets a mysterious stranger and develops bacterial encephalitis, which causes permanent brain damage. After his hospitalization, Keith's brother-in-law is killed and the mystery begins.

Not surprisingly, Jesse Gernon, the book's main character, is an optometrist. Roughly 25% of the book is devoted to his time spent at optometry school. Dr. Garland incorporated some of his own personal experiences into the book and, to add humor and reality, also wove in traits and anecdotes of former patients.

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