A Kelowna author and retired journalist has released her second fiction novel.
Lee Kaiser’s Towers of the Hungry Ghosts starts in the Okanagan and then moves to a haunted castle in Romania next door to the former real-life fortress of Count Vlad Tepes, known to readers as Count Dracula.
Kaiser moved to the Okanagan in 1994 and worked as a reporter for various newspapers such as the Peachland Signal, Penticton Herald, Kelowna Daily Courier, Oliver Chronicle and the Capital News before retiring in 2006.
It was her volunteer work with India’s street dogs that inspired her to fictionalize some of her past and present travels.
"My non-stop travel on a shoestring in the 70s and 80s has been the fodder for my stories. And little did I know those retro photos would one day be featured on my author website. Not only was I not a novelist yet, but the internet hadn’t been invented,” she said.
"In my youth I travelled and worked as a journalist and editor in Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Mexico. They were the unglamourous and low-paying jobs one finds on the spot to finance an onward journey. One could get by on practically nothing back then if you were willing to put up with questionable public toilets and inevitable detours. My bed for the night was sometimes the back of a truck going over a mountain pass, or a beach, or an overgrown median along a freeway."
"After my winter in India caring for street dogs, I started to write as therapy to clear the severe trauma of that experience,” Kaiser continued.
“At the same time, I was reading about a real-life 19th century Russian explorer who had discovered a scroll in Tibet that placed Jesus in India during his childhood. Those two experiences morphed into my first novel, Sutra of the Pearl, about an Okanagan travel writer searching for a lost scroll in India."
Her second novel, Towers of the Hungry Ghosts, is set in modern-day Transylvania and serves as book two in the Paths Unknown series about women adventurers.
“Seven years after her ex-lover disappears the novel's protagonist, Paula, inherits the vast fortune and ruined Romanian castle of the famous painter,” reads to book’s synopsis.
“Moving into a medieval castle would blow anyone’s mind, but reclusive Paula doesn’t want her mind changed, let alone blown. Her reluctance quickly dissolves when ominous happenings on her new island convince her Goran is still alive and trying to make contact.”
Both novels are on the shelves at Kelowna's Mosaic Books and Indigo Chapters or can be ordered online from Amazon or any book retailer.
Kaiser will be signing books at Kelowna’s Indigo on Saturday, Sept. 30 from 1 p.m. until closing.