Royal Oak man's book tells stories from the UP
This is an AP Member Exchange shared by The Macomb Daily (Mount Clemens).
ROYAL OAK (AP) — Royal Oak author Pete Wurdock is taking his fourth book, “Bending Water and Stories Nearby,” on the road to the Upper Peninsula where the ideas for his northern Michigan short story collection were formed.
Wurdock, 48, is heading north to “shoot videomercials” and incorporate his work on social media as a way to promote the book.
“I’m going to real places where these stories take place and shoot one minute snippets of the area and do a voice-over of sample readings of a part in each story and release those through Facebook and YouTube,” Wurdock told The Macomb Daily. “Because there is so much about the UP in there, I am taking it on the road to promote it a bit. Up there you can walk into a store, get smoked fish, bait and tackle, gas for your car, and books.”
Wurdock’s newest book is a short story collection based in northern Michigan that includes artwork throughout and was funded successfully through a Kickstarter campaign and distributed throughout Michigan.
“The only thing that each story has in common is the backdrop of northern Michigan in the Upper Peninsula,” said Wurdock, who graduated from Royal Oak Dondero in 1983 and wrote “Bending Water and Stories Nearby” after being unemployed for three years.
“I funded this myself after publishers told me ‘short story collections don’t sell,’ “ Wurdock said. “But, I know there is demand for this. Kickstarter changed the game for self-publishing to have a book produced and designed. The book is still early and a little slower getting into stores, and I’m at the whim of getting it out though my web page (www.Blueboundarybooks.com). But I also plan on getting it released on Kindle format this fall.”
Coming up with the words and chapters in his fourth book, Wurdock said he relied on his two adopted greyhounds.
“It started on Dec. 31, I woke up with a new sense of purpose,” he recalled. “I adopted my second greyhound and she was up at 4:30 a.m. — kennel time — every morning. So I was at my desk working at 5 a.m. I worked through the end of March, and took a break. It just proved to me that I do have it. It bred confidence, creativity — helped kicked the depression out of me.”
With three other books behind him — “Between the Cottages,” ‘’Places I Hide,” and “Ashes Art Heroes and Heart” — it was time for a fictional account of the Upper Peninsula where a family cabin evoked memories.
“Bending Water and Stories Nearby” consists of 14 chapters of fictional short stories.
The first chapter, “Bending Water,” is the centerpiece of the book.
“It’s the longest story in there,” Wurdock said. “It was based on the Two-Hearted River close to the family cabin. I always wanted to write something based on it — the Ernest Hemingway fan that I am.
“There’s a lot of tradition in trout fishing, so to have these guys who have done this their whole life . and you think one of the guys drowns,” he said. “But he was really sick and pretty much the river had been part of his whole life from baptism to death, and he wanted the river to take him back.”
In Chapter 2 — “Southern Gales, Tattered Sails” — Wurdock took inspiration from a line in an old Gordon Lightfoot song.
Chapter 3, “Last Letter Sent,” is a story about a guy who grew up in Grand Marais near Wurdock’s family cabin. “He left home at a young age, unhappy living in a small town and made his fortune in real estate in California,” he said. “When he comes back home to bury his mother, a surveyor finds a box that reveals a dark secret.”
Chapter 4, “Buckshot,” is about two brothers out hunting. One is shot by accident and the story is dialogue of the two of them trying to get an ambulance to the spot they are at.
Chapter 5, “Chapel Hill,” is based on a true-life event. “It’s about a guy who wanted to propose, but he stumbled along the way before the happy ending occurs,” Wurdock said.
Chapter 6, “Blink of the Night,” is what Wurdock calls “the darkest story of them all. “A woman has lost her husband and she has carried an unbearable pain with her, tries to move on and can’t handle it anymore,” he said.
Chapter 7, “Black Gold,” is a bit of a comic relief story. “Two brothers before they start their summer jobs get an idea there is a treasure buried in the lake near their cabin,” Wurdock said.
Chapter 8, “His Father’s Chair,” is a short story “on someone coming to terms with the passing of a loved one, but the regret they carry because they were never able to reconcile.”
Chapter 9, “The Door,” is about a young couple moving to the UP. “The life they wanted together didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to,” Wurdock said.
Chapter 10, “Last Night,” is a story about an old guy who is terminally ill and enjoying his last days on earth with his family and the ones he loves.
Chapter 11, “Brinny,” was an idea Wurdock had walking his dog. “How great it is to be alive and living in a place with such beauty and splendor as the UP,” he said.
Chapter 12, “Ghost Ship Down,” is a short story Wurdock adores. “This is about a guy retired after working with the Big Three and who moved to the Keweenaw Peninsula. He is a walking encyclopedia of shipwrecks.”
Chapter 13, “Things So Hard to Part With,” is a fictional account that is a little slice of a day spent with Wurdock’s two families.
Finally, Chapter 14, “The Garden,” is about the Garden Peninsula. “It’s half woods, half country, and it’s about the innocence of youth,” Wurdock said.
Wurdock is already contemplating a fifth book.
“(It) is novel length — taking place in the same UP neighborhoods,” he concluded. “It’s a humorous, action-adventure story taking characters from Mackinac to Manistee to Paradise, to Crystal Falls, and all over the Upper Peninsula.”