Former Henkle Middle School principal Rick George will hold an author reading and signing for his debut novel, “Vengeance Burns Hot,” at 6:30 p.m. May 9 at the White Salmon Valley Community Library.

A work of literary suspense, “Vengeance Burns Hot” features a helitack firefighting pilot, Ed Kline, stationed at a fictional firebase in the Snoqualmie Pass area. In the midst of a ferocious fire season and a budding romance, Ed receives a cryptic text pleading for help. He wonders if the text originated from his adult son, who disappeared a year ago.

Then a group calling itself the PUMAs—Patriots United Militia of America—carries out two deadly attacks on the same day. Was Ed’s son one of the killers, trying to escape them, or both? To find out, Ed risks his career, his new relationship, and his life.

The public is invited to this reading, where Waucoma Books will be selling copies of the book. “Vengeance Burns Hot” can also be purchased now from Waucoma Books online or in the store, as well as online from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

“It’s not necessary to buy the book,” said George. “I welcome anyone to stop by and simply say hello.”

George will conduct another author reading and signing 6 p.m. May 16 at the Hood River Library.

Q and A with author Rick GeorgeIt’s not everyday someone from  the Bingen-White Salmon community becomes a published author. First-time author Rick George tells The Enterprise editor Sverre Bakke how it came to be.

What possessed you to write a novel?

I’ve always been passionate about writing and reading, so as soon as I retired as a school administrator, I jumped back into it. Good books have made powerful impressions on me. I hope my work can have the same effect for others.

Was this your first attempt at writing a novel or non-fictional work?

Like a lot of authors, I’ve got a whole novel sitting in a figurative desk drawer. I thought it was good, but it was rejected by every agent I sent it to. It’s all part of the learning process. Vengeance Burns Hot is my second novel. My third novel, Cooper’s Loot, which takes as its starting point the infamous hijacking by DB Cooper, will be published in the fall.

Where did get you get the idea for the story?

A long time back, I was a hotshot firefighter, so I wanted to write something that included wildfires. Throw in an anti-government militia run by a charismatic leader with elite warrior skills, and we’ve got ourselves a story.

When did you start writing it?

October 2014. A literary agent agreed to represent it after I finished it, but she couldn’t sell it to any of the Big Five publishers. I decided to start submitting it on my own to small press publishers, and the first company I sent it to, Unsolicited Press of Portland, agreed to publish it.

What’s your writing process? How do you maintain the self-discipline to keep going?

I try to follow a discipline attributed to William Faulkner: “I write when I’m inspired. Fortunately, I’m inspired every morning by 9 a.m.”

Is this novel self-published?

No. My publisher pays all the costs. Every book it publishes, it’s gambling that it will make money or at least break even.

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