Local author Gibson pens story of a ‘different’ kind of character

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, June 7, 2012

Loren “Pete” Gibson doesn’t call his list of “everything to do once” a “bucket list.” A bucket couldn’t hold his “everything” list.

As Gibson checks things off his list, he is finished with them – usually.

Writing a book was not at the top of his list but it was above sky diving, which he plans to do before dust settles on the jacket of his recently published book of fiction, “Out of the Swamp.”

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Gibson, a Goshen native, doesn’t believe in retirement, so writing was something that he laughingly said he could do in “old age.”

His first novel, “Journeys” is planned as a trilogy and is based on a family history. “Out of the Swamp, which will be featured at a tea from 2 until 4 p.m. Saturday at the Johnson Center for the Arts, might have been influenced somewhat by Gibson’s life experiences but he’s not saying so.

“‘Out of the Swamp’ is a book of fiction that is based on stories told to him primarily by a buddy who served in the Marines and other friends who served Uncle Sam.

“It’s the story of a young man searching for a place where he can fit in,” Gibson said. “He knows that finding that place will not be easy because he’s always been ‘different.’”

But Travis Walker’s not different in the “usual” kind of way. No. He has the ability to see dead people and sense things before they actually happen.

“And it makes for a good story,” Gibson said, with a smile.

Walker leaves the swamps of Northwest Florida for Arizona where he can live every boy’s dream as a cowboy.

But Arizona is not the Old West and Walker finds, instead, a place in the United States Marines.

He was a good Marine and, as a soldier in Vietnam, he was a top Marine. The Marine Corps was the perfect place for a man who is different, but not in the usual kind of way.

“Travis Walker found himself liking the Marines too much,” Gibson said. “‘Out of the Swamp’ is his story and his search for home.”

The book took three to four years to write. Given the fact that Gibson wrote the manuscript in longhand, that was a relatively short time.

“I hate computers,” he said, laughing. “And it was good that the writing took a while because I didn’t know how the novel would end until I realized ‘this is the end’ and ended it.”

Gibson has other ideas for novels and he is already working on the next one.

“I’m discontented,” he said. “I can’t sit back and relax. I’ve got to be doing something and I enjoy writing.”

Gibson and his wife, Carolyn, enjoy traveling and they plan to continue venturing from their “retirement” home near Goshen to places unknown.

However, there aren’t many of those places left. Gibson served in the U.S. Army in the 1950s and saw different parts of the world. But the greatest opportunities for travel came when the Gibsons were teachers with the International School Circuit.

“We’ve been around the world not just once—twice,” he said. “We’ve lived in India, the Middle East and Egypt. We’ve lived where it was extremely hot and where it was extremely cold and everywhere in between.”

But the Gibsons are back home now – in Southeast Alabama, and for them, it’s the perfect place to be.