Local author  debuts new work

Ponderosa Sage is excited to announce the publication of “The Storekeeper, A Tale of Small Town Life” by Pearl Whitfield.

After his wife dies, Ralph Johnson loads the dog into the truck. Rusty and Ralph drive around for months, until they end up in a small town in the West where Ralph buys the mom-and-pop store. As he becomes immersed in the life of the town, his grief begins to heal. There is abundance of life in Campbell. Ralph and his wife never had children, and he is flummoxed and intrigued by a ragged and skinny four-year-old girl who appears, alone, on the steps of the store the first day. This is a deceptively simple story, from the coffee ‘boys’ and the Wednesday prayer group, to the events and conversations of small town life. But it is, like the best of country music songs, a story about all of our lives.

Whitfield has written for fun for much of her life, but this is her first novel.

“The story was on my pillow one morning when I woke up, Ralph pulling up the blind in the door and seeing a little girl. I didn’t know much more than that, except that Ralph didn’t know children and the little girl didn’t talk. But I knew it was a story asking to be written.”

The little story turned into a project lasting more than four years. “I just kept sitting down with an empty page, listening for what character appeared, what they said and did, and recording it.” Whitfield explains. “It turned out, they had a lot to say.”

Whitfield is actually Lakeview’s own Margot Dodds.

How come a pseudonym and how did she chose that one?

About 10 years ago Margot discovered that Margaret means “pearl.” Her middle name is Whitfield and she thought “if I ever wrote a book, I’d like to be called Pearl Whitfield. It just sounds like a great name for an old lady author. Plus, a pseudonym would make it harder for my millions of fans to find me!”

Jacket design was done by former Lakeview resident Montana Lee Masters, Bitterbrush Studio.

Dodds lives in Eastern Oregon where she enjoys walking with long views and solitude. She is working on her next book.

The book is available on Amazon and will be sold locally in the coming weeks.

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