Living Snoqualmie’s Regional Reads: Doug Walsh’s Shadows of Kalalau

[Guest Post by Lynda Lahman]

Still reeling from her mother’s death, Malia refuses to spend the summer before college walking on eggshells around her overbearing father. So, hoping to reconnect with her mother’s spirit, Malia flees to the remote Kalalau Valley of Kauaʻi, where she was conceived. But when two people end up dead, her adventure in paradise becomes a battle for survival.”

Doug Walsh’s latest book, ‘Shadows of Kalalau,’ combines his love of travel, sense of place, and the intricacies of relationships into a young adult coming of age romantic thriller. Doug’s always been a writer; for over eighteen years, he created strategy guides in which he helped gamers navigate the landscapes of fictitious places while providing tips and strategies for success.

While this may seem an unlikely lead-in to his current novel, Walsh believes the years he spent helping gamers honed his ability to create a realistic fictional setting with believable characters. Having been to Kaua’i’s Kalalau Valley numerous times, Doug has hiked the trail that is a key part of the book on his many trips to the island.

Originally from New Jersey, Doug and his wife Kristin first moved to Bellevue but were drawn to the Snoqualmie in 2004 by the area’s beauty, as well as being able to easily access the outdoor activities they love, including hiking and mountain biking.

When the strategy guide industry died, Walsh decided it was time to focus full time on books and novels. ‘The Walkthrough: Insider Tales From a Life in Video Game Strategy Guide’ was written in part as a way to process the loss of his dream job.

But the call to adventure was equally strong, and in 2014 the couple sold their home in Snoqualmie to ride bicycles around the world. Returning to Snoqualmie Valley after almost two years on the road, their journey became the catalyst for his first novel, ‘Tailwinds Past Florence,’ a love story that transcends time.

While many scenes and events are reminiscent of their travels, and he originally intended it to be a travel memoir, the trip went so smoothly he decided to fictionalize it.

“Nothing in Kalalau is as she expects. Though quickly embraced by an eclectic group of squatters, Malia struggles to bond with her newfound ʻohana, or family … especially with the attractive surfer who holds her at arms’-length despite the chemistry between them.”

Romance, food, travel, publishing, and marketing are all high on Doug’s priority list. Having just completed a move into their new home on the Ridge, he and Kristin are planning their next adventure.

After their bike tour, they listed all the places they still wanted to visit, and on New Year’s Day, they pull one destination out of a basket. For their upcoming twenty-fifth anniversary next year, they’ve already started planning for a hike through the Swiss Alps.

“When a stranger joins the group, events rapidly spiral out of control. As secrets are revealed and illusions shattered, Malia finds herself at the center of a police investigation. And her life’s dreams at the mercy of a desperate murderer”.

Thankfully, Doug is focusing his time on his publishing business, marketing his latest book, teaching at local writer conferences, and helping other writers get their works into the hands of readers rather than solving murders.

He may turn one of his short stories into a novella and has repeatedly asked if Malia will return in a future book. “We’ll see where this takes us first,” is his reply.

Emotionally complex and charged with suspense, Shadows of Kalalau is a coming-of-age story as beautiful, rich, and compelling as its backdrop of Hawaiʻi’s Nāpali coast.’

If you’re looking to escape the winter doldrums in Seattle, then I recommend you brew a cup of Kona coffee and grab a copy of ‘Shadows of Kalalu,’ and let your mind drift to the warm beaches of  Kaua’i.

Doug is available for author coaching through a form on the website www.snokevalleybooks.com.

His books are available in paperback, e-book, and audiobook everywhere books are sold. Signed copies can be purchased through his website at www.dougwalsh.com.

[Lynda is a mental-skills coach for athletes, having retired after a thirty-plus year career as a family therapist. She is an avid traveler, hiker, motorcyclist, and the first person to finish the 11-day Iron Butt Rally twice as a pillion and twice on a solo bike. She’s the author of five books, including ‘The Women’s Guide to Motorcycling’ and her most recent, ‘The Story: of Love, Loss, and Memories.’ Lynda lives in Snoqualmie and is currently improving her pickleball and golfing skills.]

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