Local author to donate portion of profits to school's library

Jessica Schladebeck
The cover of the young adult novel "Ken's War."

With the constant release of new novels and book sequels, having an up-to-date library can sometimes be a challenge, which is why a local author is donating a percent of her book's profits to Central York Middle School's library.

B.K. Fowler, who penned the young adult novel "Ken's War," intends to donate 20 percent of all royalties for every paperback or e-book sold through the month of January to the middle school library.

The former school teacher moved to York in 2002 within the borders of the Central York School District, which is why she opted to donate to the district.

"I sort of have an affinity for and an interest in kids at that age and how they learn," Fowler said, noting that was one of the reasons why she chose to write a young adult novel.

Shelly Eaton, the librarian, said she looks forward to purchasing new books with the donated funds.

Author of "Ken's War," Beth Fowler

The book: "Ken's War," which is set in Japan while the conflict in Vietnam begins to escalate, follows Ken, a teenager and Army brat, and his captain father as they navigate the culture shock associated with moving from small-town Pennsylvania to the other side of the world.

Fowler said she loved the way her hero, Ken, took form in the book. As a young boy growing up on an Army base, he has a temper and is always ready to pick a fight, she said, adding she enjoyed experiencing his growth throughout the story.

"In tradition of good young adult literature, it shows a boy become a man," Fowler said. "It goes through questions that we all face when we grow up, when we still have to decide what we believe and what's important, when we wonder, 'How do I fit in? Am I gonna be a good guy or a bad guy?' All those basic questions that we face."

And while it does take place on an Army base, the book isn't violent or graphic in anyway, Fowler said.

"I like to assure teachers and parents that there's nothing salacious or overtly sexual or offensive about the book," she said, noting that isn't the case with many young adult novels on the shelves today. "It's safe, it does't come with a rating."

Inspiration: Fowler developed the idea for her novel based on a conversation she had with her martial arts instructor, she said.

"The instructor just in passing said he and his dad lived in Japan while he was a little boy, which is where he learned martial arts," Fowler said. "My mind just went 'Wow,' and I wondered what it would be like as young boy to live in a foreign culture."

While writing the book, Fowler was able to visit Japan, where, she said, she took extensive notes with the hope of creating an authentic setting.

It took her 15 years of on-and-off writing to complete the story.

"I would let it sit and marinate for a while and then come back to it, but because I was away from it for so long, it gave me the guts to chop out maybe a third of what was so fun to write," Fowler said.

"Ken's War" is available for purchase through Amazon and at most major bookstores.

— Reach Jessica Schladebeck at jschladebeck@yorkdispatch.com.