Getting to Know the Writer Who Began Writing at Fifty

Indie author Kevin Parham calls himself a late-bloomer. In an exclusive interaction with the Literary Express, Parham avers that the fact he was already fifty years old when he started working on the manuscript for his very first book was nothing less than an epiphany. ‘That’s because unlike most writers who usually begin reading at a very young age, I wasn’t much of a reader, let alone have the audacity to write a book,’ he states. So, how did he end up becoming one of the widely read indie authors? ‘Well, purely by happenstance,’ he says with a smile.

It was in 2010 that Parham, now sixty-six, finally decided to give writing a go. ‘I had the ability to tell stories,’ he says, letting me know that his relatives and friends always suggested that he write a book. ‘However, I would routinely dismiss the idea out of hand simply because I had never envisioned myself as an author,’ he lets on, adding, ‘At the time, just the thought of writing a book seemed like such a herculean task that was out of reach. But in retrospect, that was not the case.’

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The Debut Decoded

Talking about his debut book The Vineyard We Knew—A Recollection of Summers on Martha’s Vineyard, the author, who is currently living in Massachusetts, the US, says it was written as a coming-of-age memoir as seen through the eyes of a young boy. ‘It came about after the passing away of my mother, Beatrice, in 2008,’ he lets us know.

Detailing what inspired him to write the story, Parham first makes known that his grandmother named Carrie White owned a modest cottage in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard and that his siblings spent every summer with the grandmother right from the late 1950s through the early 1970s. He then explains, ‘Our experience was unlike what most envision when they think of the Vineyard. We had lived there under very humble circumstances with our strict grandmother. Fond memories of our time there spurred many anecdotes, which I began casually jotting down. And three years later, I had enough material for a book!’

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Kevin Parham

From Murder Mystery to Autobiography

Parham’s journey, however, didn’t end there as it does for many indie authors who lose motivation if their works are not received well by the audience. For Parham, who believes in learning something from each of the authors he reads, the launch of his first book was just the beginning of a journey that has continued hitherto and one that will continue for many more years to come.

His second book, which happened a couple of years after the first, is titled Keeper of the East Bluff Light. It is a murder mystery that deals with the use of electromagnetism and light-wave technology for dastardly purposes. Explaining its storyline, Parham, who happens to hold a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, says, ‘The protagonist, Sam Biggs, is a fishing trawler captain who goes on to become a lighthouse keeper. However, in time, strange things begin to occur at the lighthouse. Soon, FBI Special Agent Max Landcomb is called in to investigate and solve a rash of heinous crimes, the result of which will keep you engaged and guessing right up to the very end.’

While his second book is a murder mystery, Parham decided to write an autobiographical novel soon after. ‘Westville is my third and latest book,’ says the author, who mostly writes between 1:00 and 5:00 AM. He adds, ‘It’s about the life of an aspiring young musician, Jimmy James, and the vibrant community from which he comes. Jimmy learns that the road to fame and fortune is fraught with potholes, dead-ends, and detours and that what we travel the world in search of can oftentimes be found at home, where we started.’

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‘I Had Never Thought I Would Write’

As the discussion warms up, this scribe asks him if he charts out the plot well before beginning to work on a story or whether his stories unravel as he indites them. Answering this, Parham, who is glad to be able to be devoting a lot of time to his literary pursuits, courtesy the pandemic, lets out, ‘I usually have a general idea of what the story is going to be about and the characters involved, but the storyline tends to unfold as I go along. At times, I’ve been surprised by what happens. It’s almost as if the characters drive parts of the story, where something unexpected takes place and causes the plot to go in another direction.’

Becoming an author for Parham, nonetheless, was purely coincidental. ‘Actually, I had never thought I would write and publish one book, let alone three, with a fourth book, a novella coming out in the spring of 2021,’ says Parham for whom handling simultaneous projects has never been an issue. He is also a renowned musician, which he himself makes clear while discussing his latest book, and he enjoys being outdoors. ‘Garding, taking long walks, swimming, and travelling keep me going,’ he says, only to add, ‘And of course, I love to read!’

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Practice Makes Perfect

And is there any piece of advice that he would like to give budding authors who lose motivation if their works don’t do well? ‘My only advice to new authors is to keep writing because it’s not unlike any other endeavor. Whether it’s writing, learning to play an instrument, honing a particular skill, working out as an athlete, or perfecting any number of interests, practice makes perfect—the more you do it, the better you’ll get!’ he says.

He also wishes that people would learn to respect one another for who they are and what they can contribute to the betterment of all. ‘There is too much divisiveness in the world today. After all, we are all part of the human race with common goals and desires and should work with one another to preserve what we have now so they may benefit the future generations,’ he says, signing off on a thoughtful note.

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