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About The Author

Text Box: An Interview with the Author

Seated in a local bookstore, surrounded by thousands of volumes, seemed an appropriate place to meet with Gilbert resident Ken Blaisdell. He has just released his sixth novel and is hard at work on the next.

Blaisdell is a mechanical engineer who owns the Arizona-based Delta Technology. He spends his days building custom manufacturing equipment for other companies—or "inventing things," as he says. However, he also has a passion for writing. To Blaisdell, there is not a lot of difference. "Writing novels is inventing things, too. But when I create the stories I have a lot more power over the world," he says, laughing.

Blaisdell and his wife, Diane, left the cold behind 29 years ago and made Arizona their home, along with their two daughters. About eight years ago, they moved to Gilbert to be closer to the business. "We love Gilbert," says Blaisdell. "Never have we had friendlier neighbors than the ones we have in our community."

Blaisdell and his wife live in one of the lakes communities in Gilbert and enjoy it. "It really is quite beautiful to be on the lake; and all the neighbors know each other. We live on a cul-de-sac, so we set up tables in the street and have parties right there."

Blaisdell says the close group of neighbors inspired one of his novels, The Wives of Lagan's Point, in which neighborhood women kill off each other's husbands one by one. He assures his readers—and his Gilbert neighbors—that there are no murderous plans in their community. In fact, many of his neighbors are regular readers of his works.

Blaisdell's first novel is The Weaver Conspiracy. It took him about a year to write and when he finished the 250,000 word political intrigue manuscript, he discovered it was more than twice as long as the book industry would even look at from a first-time author. After many more months of edits and correspondence with numerous agents and editors, Blaisdell turned to an alternative publisher and released the novel through Outskirts Press, a print-on-de-mand publisher.

"If I had known the realities of the industry when I began, I probably wouldn't have continued," he says with a laugh. By the time he realized how difficult it is to publish a book in today's industry, however, he had the bug. "When I write, everything else goes away."

While each of Blaisdell's novels are labors of love, his newest novel, Katie: A Novel of Autism, is much more personal. The murder mystery centers around a 17-year-old autistic girl, Katie, accused of killing her au pair. Blaisdell modeled Katie after his niece, Quin D'Elia, who is autistic. Many of the anecdotes in the novel are actual events in Quin's life and things that have happened to her as an autistic teen in today's world.

Quin, who has no verbal communication skills, lives back east and Blaisdell had never spent any extended time with her. That changed a couple of years ago when Blaisdell and his wife attended Quin's Bat Mitzvah. "Before then, Quin had always seemed happy," says Blaisdell. "It was often hard for those around her, but it didn't seem to bother her."

While preparing for her Bat Mitzvah, Quin used facilitated communication with her rabbi to convey her thoughts. In one moving exchange, the rabbi asked her, "What does freedom mean to you?"

She typed in reply, "To be free is a dream."

He asked, "Are you free?"

"I need speaking to be free," she answered.

It was then that Blaisdell realized the depth of Quin's autism and saw her hidden intellect. He had the main story idea for Katie in his head before the plane landed back in Phoenix.

Katie took seven months to write. Normally, he hands chapters off to several others to read and critique as he writes, but not this time. He continued writing and kept it to himself. He said that part of the reason was because he had not decided on who the murderer was until the end. "I don't outline," he explains. "It's like taking a road trip from Massachusetts to California. I know where I want to end up, but I don't always know the route I'll take to get there."

He says that sometimes it's almost as much an adventure for him as it is for the reader.

Blaisdell and his wife created Lightkeeper Press after he completed Katie. After trying to publish through traditional routes, they decided they needed to do something to ensure the novel's publication. "We thought that exposing some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding autism was important and could be done in an interesting way," he explains. In creating Lightkeeper Press, he is able to make Katie available in both paperback and e-book (electronic book) format.

Blaisdell became so committed to the study of autism while researching his book that he pledges to donate a third of the profits from the book sales, both e-book and paperback, to an autism charity.

He also plans to keep writing and is already at work on novel number seven. "I do this because I love it and I hope that comes through in my writing," he explains.

For more about Ken Blaisdell and his novels, visit www.kenblaisdell.com. •

'I don't outline. Its like taking a road trip from Massachusetts to California. I know where I want to end up, but I don't always know the route I'll take to get there."

From GoGilbert Magazine August 2012

Article by Susan Lanier-Graham      *      Photo by Carl Schultz

A Personal Tale

Local author Ken Blaisdell uses a close-to-home inspiration for his latest novel

Gilbert neighborhood inspires Blaisdell mystery novel

From The Gilbert Republic Friday, 1/25/13


Some might think Gilbert author Ken Blaisdell lives dangerously.

He said his new murder mystery novel, The Wives of Logan Point, was inspired by his real-life cul-de-sac neighbors in the Islands subdivision.

"They are a close-knit group of friends who include my own wife. So close are their fictional alter egos in the novel that they band together and conspire to kill one another's husbands for reasons that range from jealousy to rage to vengeance and even for the pure thrill of it," he said.

By the time the book ends, nine husbands have been killed. But Blaisdell, a Massachusetts native, said in an e-mail interview that rather than be put off by the plot, his neighbors and friends had the oppo­site reaction.

''Every one of them loved it," he said. "The only complaint I got was that a couple of them didn't think they weren't evil enough! One of them, whose alter ego becomes a bit of a cougar after her husband's demise, was concerned that I was going to tone down her character. I told her not to worry; she was still a tramp. She was overjoyed!

The book is published by Lightkeeper Press. For additional information visit the book's web site: www.TheWivesOfLogansPoint.com.


Blaisdell, 61, has been married 37 years to his wife Diane and they have two daughters and two grandsons, who all reside in the Phoenix area. Here is a brief conversation with the author.


Question: Is writing your full-time career?

Answer: I wish I could write full-time. I am a mechanical engineer by trade, and my wife and I own a company that designs and builds special machinery for manufacturers across the country and even overseas. Writing fiction is my escape from the pressures of the real world.


Q: How long have you been a writer and what else in the way of books have you published?

A: I've been writing short stories since I was about 10. My first published works were technical articles for a trade publication called Machine Design Magazine. I began my first full-length novel, The Weaver Conspiracy, in June 2002 and finished almost a year-to-the-day later.

      Weaver is a political thriller about a failed attempt on the president's life and the investigation that follows. In 2011 I began a novel titled Katie: A Novel of Autism, which was inspired by my wife's niece, who has severe autism.


Q: What inspired this novel other than the fact that this is a group of close neighbors?

A: In Wives there are nine dead husbands between the first and last pages and the story is about the wives conspiring to get away with them. The first challenge was to come up with enough different ways for neighboring husbands to die that would not tip the police off to the possibility that Steven King had suddenly moved onto the street.

      The second was to make these murderous housewives likeable. Judging by the feedback and reviews I've received, I I'm happy to say that it looks like I succeeded on both counts.

      Despite the multiple murders, most readers call Wives a "fun read." I think referring to it as "A Novel of Spousal Skullduggery" helps to set the not-overly-serious tone.


Q: What's your next project?

A: I have several different stories rolling around in my head pretty much] all the time, but what I am actively writing is a story called A Kiss For Luck, which follows an Ml Carbine rifle from the time it is manufactured by an assembly line of young women in 1944 Chicago. They all give it a "kiss for luck" before sending it off to the troops, and the book is a series of short stories following the gun through its adventures before and after D-Day in WWII, and then after its return to the U.S. after the war. This will be my first work in which an inanimate object is the protagonist.

Text Box: Copyright © 2012 by Ken Blaisdell  All rights reserved.