Civil War fiction

Local author brings history to life; latest is third book in the series

Lowell F. Volk knows his American history and all of its defining moments.

He’s bore witness to a few of the bloodiest battles on American soil. Re-enactments, of course. Battles like Gettysburg. Fredericksburg. Funkstown. Picacho Peak. Been there, saw that, and now he writes about it.

Volk, a historical fiction author, is introducing his third book, “Trevor Lane and the Civil War,” at Spruce Tree Coffee House tonight from 5 to 7 p.m.

Readings from this book, will transcend the audience to a fictional world of a young man from Pittsburg, whose trials and tribulations lead him to the Pennsylvania Sixth Cavalry. His world is one that Volk feels may have existed at the time of the Civil War.

“Everything is historical fiction,” Volk says. “All the battles mentioned in the book are real, the characters are fiction. There were many stories from that time, one like this may or may not have been, but it’s focused on the family and what happens to them during this time period.”

Volk resides in Pleasant View with his wife, Mary Lou, who doubles as his book critic and editor. He’s been retired since 2004, from software engineering, when the couple left California for Colorado.

“I was in Boulder in 1974, General Dynamics is the company I was working for and they sent me on a three-day business trip to California,” Volk says. “On December 3, 2004 I left California. That was one long trip.”

Volk loves a good read. He cites Louis L’Amour as one of his favorite authors. He enjoys western stories with factual events. He is in the middle of writing a series of six books. Currently, five are finished.

Trevor Lane is the third of that series. His first two books focused on a character named Luke Taylor, a southern man, who follows Stonewall Jackson through Shenandoah Valley before heading west. His next two will focus on Lane, a northern man of the union.

“Book one and three sort of parallel one another and the same with the second and the fourth,” he says. “So in the last two, the men will meet and come together. I won’t give too much away.”

Volk says readers around the area have been enticed into the world of his two characters. They anticipate the different worlds combining. He says it can be easy for people to get attached to characters and even authors can find a piece of themselves in those characters, but Volk never saw himself as a writer.

“If you were to ask my earlier self, if I would choose to be a writer, he would’ve said no,” Volk says.

After escaping the throes of high school in his home state of Minnesota, Volk grew into his maturity. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from California Lutheran University and a master’s degree in business from the University of LaVerne, also in California. Not bad for a guy whose favorite subject in his pre-college days was hooky.

“I wasn’t a great student,” Volk says jokingly. “That changed when I went to college.”

His career with General Dynamics took him to many places, and it was in Virginia, when he realized he could combine his hobby of reading and his love of history. The Civil War era seemed to be the best place to start.

“One thing about writing historical fiction is, you have to do your research,” Volk says. “You have to be careful and make sure you use the correct names, places and dates because there is always someone out there who is checking the facts.”

Volk and his wife attend several famous battle reenactments every year. They dress up in period clothing, and set up a booth, traditional to the time period, where Volk sells his books. They are great places for him to present his fiction, check out other vendors and meet other fans of historical turning points.

Volk has been a member of the Montezuma County Sheriff’s Posse since 2005, and is a member of the Western Writers of America organization. He is a nominee for the Silver Spur Award through the WWA in the category for long novel. His first novel, “The Taylor’s Civil War,” was nominated for the Michael Shaara Award, for excellence in Civil War fiction from Gettysburg College. After this series is fully published, he hopes to concentrate his work on Colorado’s history.

Volk’s novels can be enjoyed by adults and young adults. They have a good flow, entertaining suspenseful stories and ends that will hook the readers.

You can buy a copy of “Trevor Lane and the Civil War” at Spruce Tree Coffee House, Pleasant View Mercantile or from the publisher’s website www.tatepublishing.com. Visit lowellvolk.tateauthor.com for more information on the author.

rachels@cortezjournal.com