Golf ball

Dad Golfs With Aliens In My Other Worldly Novels

My dad turns 91 today, so I thought I should give him equal time on this blog after posting about Mom two weeks ago on her ninetieth birthday. After all, Dad, or Les (short for Leslie) features in my Other Worldly novels as Gene.

Like my dad, my feisty female protagonist Rowan Layne and I also obtained journalism degrees. Little known fact: My father got his journalism degree at Sam Houston University, same as Dan Rather. Uncannily, at the same time as Dan. Fun fact: Mom was dancing with her friend Dan when she spotted Dad and decided she might want to date him…or so the story goes.

Dad never worked as a professional journalist, but his occupation listed on my birth certificate was “technical writer,” his job at Sperry Corporation after leaving the ranks of the US Navy. Hence, Dad worked with computers before most of us knew what they were or could do.

You could say my writing bug gene came directly from him. Dad, like me, once wrote his memoir.

In my novels, Gene Layne also shares Rowan’s extrasensory auditory abilities, despite being hard of hearing. My real dad also has hearing impairment, and was once an avid golfer, though he’s slowed down on that these days. But it’s the reason for much golf fodder in my novels (Rowan is not a golfer and likes to snark it up about chasing that little white ball, especially when her sister also takes up golf).

Dad did, in fact, score an amazing 79 on an Oregon golf course in his early eighties, but in Being Alien, I have him pulling off that feat at none other than St Andrews in Scotland. He’s never been there, but that’s the fun thing about writing fiction, you can make potential dreams a reality. Because I also have Dad playing golf with an alien species known as Red Orbiters, and they might have actually been the ones to invent the sport—though there is a connection to the Scots who began golf on Earth.

Conversely, I enjoy taking tidbits of reality and turning them into fictional plot lines. Here’s a conversation in my first novel, Alienable Rights, that really did take place on the Monterey Peninsula at our favorite B&B, Seven Gables, I simply adjusted it from (ostensibly) being merely about tinnitus to our being able to hear extraterrestrial aliens:

Dad’s eyes widened as he leaned towards me. “I’d like to know if what I’m hearing is making sense. Because it sounds like what I used to hear in the radio room aboard ship.”

“You mean like Morse code?”

Yes, I have warned family members that anything they say could be used in my novels. In Dad’s case, my novels are chock full of his various references. For instance, he calls toilets “commodes” and a chocolate bar a “bar of candy.” And then there’s cookies…

Here’s more excerpts from Alienable Rights:

Dad snuck off to the main house for coffee, code for cookies they put out every afternoon. If there’s anything Dad loved as much as ice cream, golf, and the Red Sox, it’s cookies. Preferably chocolate chip. I’m a snickerdoodles gal, and Mom pretends not to eat cookies. [Forgive me, Mom]

Dad used old-fashioned British bathroom terms, so a sink was a “lavatory.” When I was little I thought he meant “laboratory,” imagining chemistry experiments conducted in the sink that could change me into a superhero like Batgirl.

But my absolute favorite takes on Dad from my Other Worldly novels are how he reacts to meeting aliens for the first time. With polite curiosity, asking questions including, “Were you in the Navy too?” and “Do you golf?”

I’d like to think that’s how we all would embrace the knowledge and reality of aliens among us, because I think my real Dad Les would, as long as they did, in fact, golf. After all, Dad once navigated using the stars while aboard ship in the Navy. Happy Birthday, Dad, with love from Doodles.


2 thoughts on “Dad Golfs With Aliens In My Other Worldly Novels”

    1. Thanks Lori. It was apparently very lowkey, but he was quite pleased with my blog post and read it several times. He also watched a Red Sox game in the afternoon according to my sister 🙂

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