A former Douglas County resident, author Gabriel S.A. Clason announced the release of his first psychic suspense novel: “After The Last Breath.” This is the first book of his Hector Hargrove series written on a whim a few months ago.
The idea to write came about as Clason was studying to become a pharmacist at Oregon State University. Fond of writing, he enrolled in an introduction to fiction writing class last fall amidst his chemistry courses. Clason, now 38, lives in Albany with his wife, Tracy, while attending school.
Impressed with his work, Clason’s writing professor said he would be robbing the world of his talent if he did not share it with readers. His instructor then provided him with information about self-publishing and getting published.
“I’ve always thought about writing, but I’ve never had somebody kick me off the ledge,” Clason said.
Following his teacher’s advice, Clason spent his upcoming vacation between fall and winter term writing this novel. He was so jazzed he wrote the entire story before school started in January, writing 18 hours a day at times.
He came up with the story idea while sitting at his desk and looking out the window of his Albany home during last December’s ice storm. Dreaming about a warm, sunny beach, he decided to write about it instead, so he chose his main character to live in a condo on Venice Beach, California.
Next he came up with a prototypical Los Angeles resident that reflected the large Latino population in Southern California in 2016. The story’s main character, Hargrove, is half Mexican and half Caucasian. The story evolved from there.
“Once I started writing, it poured itself out,” he said.
Another influence on the story was Clason’s love for detective novels where readers must figure out the mystery, with car chases and shootouts. “I wanted to make sure I included things that excited me as a reader,” he said.
In comparison, he said aspects of his story are similar to the Harry Bosch best selling novel series by Michael Connelly, but less grim.
“My character is more like me, he’s a little bit funny,” Clason said. “He takes things seriously with no nonsense, but he also sees the humor in situations.”
The story involves Hargrove, a private investigator, who discovers he has the ability to see the past by physically touching items he finds at a crime scene. “That makes him a really effective murder investigator,” Clason said.
The main story is about Hargrove and his partner, Los Angeles Police Department detective Lt. Keith Colemen, who solve the double murder of a wealthy couple found behind a bank, among other twists and turns.
Their challenges involve proving Hargrove’s psychic visions by providing credible evidence that’s admissible in court, which is not an easy task.
The title of the book comes from a moment when Hargrove realizes that although the justice system means well, it does not always get it right. If all the witnesses are killed after the victim’s last breath, Hargrove is the only witness left, because he is the only one who saw what actually happened.
“He has the realization that to not use the ability he has for the greater good would be very selfish,” Clason said. “It’s a gift and an ability.” The power does not overtake the novel that’s 90 percent detective thriller and 10 percent psychic.
Publishing his first book holds special meaning for Clason because it was a family venture. Two of his three sisters helped with the self-publishing and book design. His two sisters and parents live in Roseburg and Sutherlin today.
“It’s something we created that will always be floating around out there, you can never take that away,” Clason said.
According to Clason, readers like this novel because it’s a character-driven story between Hargrove and Cole. “The feedback I’ve gotten is that the two characters make a great pair. It’s what a lot of people enjoy,” he said.
Clason is currently working on a sequel story where Hargrove and his partner track a serial killer moving north through California headed for Canada.
His first book “After The Last Breath” was released on Jan. 10 and is now available at www.Amazon.com.