Local novelist finally gets her story into print

Jackie Dougherty had the story finished years ago, but her new novel, “Pirates of Passion: A Pirate’s Quest,” was finally released on April 19.

Dougherty will appear at the Sweet Home Public Library, along with several other local authors, on May 22 to sign books (see below).

The book is written under the pen name Jo Kirkland, her middle name and maiden name.

She was born in Aurora, Colo., the namesake of her protagonist. She doesn’t remember Colorado, though, because she moved as a baby to Nevada with her family. She spent the next 37 years of her life in Fallon, Nev., where her father opened a chiropractic practice.

She graduated from high school in 1971 and attended community college. She worked as a secretary for 30 years and raised three children as a single mother.

She also worked at a video store in Fallon. She moved to Oregon with another employee in 1993 to open their own video store franchise in Lebanon, she said. Unfortunately, her boss, who was helping her, died before it could be set up. Her interest in

Oregon was also piqued by the fact that her brother is a chiropractor in Dallas.

She went back to work as a secretary, and she moved to Sweet Home in 1995.

She met her husband, Mike Dougherty, when her son, Randy Gill, married his daughter, Mandy. She also has another son, Jeff Gill of Albany, and a daughter, Jenny Gill of Sweet Home.

Her novel is dedicated to her children, without whom she says it would never have been written.

“It’s my kids who motivated me to write the book,” Dougherty said. Their papers and stories helped inspire her book, and she used their ideas in her original draft.

“It’s a good way to relax,” she said. “It was a stress thing.”

She chose her genre because she likes historical fiction and romances, she said, but she likes them without the mushy stuff.

Initially set in 1719, the book is primarily an action adventure in which Aurora is kidnapped. After escaping from a pirate who falls in love with her and kidnaps her, she is pursued across the North American continent, with adventures involving pirates,

Indians and love as she makes her way home.

“The novel was finished back in ’88 before we moved up here,” she said. She filled up her computer’s hard drive with the novel, but she lost part of it when transferring it to her next computer.

“I finally got it done and had it in capital letters because I felt for older people,” she said. That meant going back in and retyping the story.

She published the novel through PublishAmerica, a company that specifically publishes and helps promote new authors. She had gone on-line and looked at a variety of publishers who charged $2,000 to $5,000 to print books.

She has a sequel in the works and a children’s book, called “Donald the Donkey,” a humorous story illustrated by her daughter.

The book will be available locally, Dougherty said, but she doesn’t know where yet. It also is available at publishamerica.com.