Ed Traylor woke up one day not long after retiring from the Illinois State Police and started to write a book.
“The story that’s in the book was right there,” he said, opening his hands as if holding a book. “I started writing and Patty did the typing.”
It took about four years for Ed and and his wife, Pat, both 72, to write it and send it to just about every friend they have to edit it. “The Crossing” was published by Oak Tree Press in 2015.
The Traylors, of Atwater in rural Macoupin County, will be at two local libraries for discussions and signings next week: 7 p.m. Monday at The Morrison-Talbott Library, 215 Park St. in Waterloo, and at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the O’Fallon Public Library, 120 Civic Plaza in O’Fallon.
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“The Crossing” is partly set in Illinois, along the highways Ed once patrolled. In his novel, a Pakistani terrorist is set on a retaliation attack in the United States. He uses a Mexican drug cartel to bring in more terrorists, but the plot begins to fall apart when a cartel confidant is stopped for speeding in Illinois with cocaine.
Ed will talk about his 29 years with the state police and some of his work — his career ended with him investigating health-care fraud — during the books signings.
“What’s ordinary to him isn’t to us,” Pat said. “He’s got a lot of stories.”
Book discussions and signings 7 p.m. Monday at The Morrison-Talbott Library, 215 Park St. in Waterloo 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the O’Fallon Public Library, 120 Civic Plaza in O’Fallon
The writing, typing and publishing were relatively easy, the Traylors agree. The marketing, that’s the tough part.
“Five thousand books a day go on Amazon, that’s why it’s so tough,” Ed said. The Crossing is available on Amazon, and can be ordered at Barnes and Noble Booksellers or on his website, www.edtraylorbooks.com.
Ed and Pat have driven 6,000 miles — mostly in Illinois — since the books came out to tell his story and sell “The Crossing.” They’ve sold 275 themselves, and nearly 200 through Amazon. Ed didn’t know how many have sold through Kindle.
They aren’t funding their retirements with book selling, but they’re having a grand time with what he laughed as a write-off.
What’s ordinary to him isn’t to us. He’s got a lot of stories.
Pat Traylor, on her husband’s storytelling at book signings for “The Crossing”
“We’re having a lot of fun with this,” Ed said of the writing and traveling. The couple, who has two children and two grandchildren, has been married nearly 53 years and is careful not to finish one another’s sentences or detract from the other’s accomplishments.
“We spent a lot of time together, and we’re still together,” Ed said.
Pat said she had cancer when he started writing the book, and it was a welcome distraction. She enjoyed his story and rarely offered suggestions, saying maybe sometimes she had a question on his grammar.
“I think (the writing) was just a positive thing. You always have to have something to look forward to,” she said.
Ed said he’d never written before other than police reports, and before the story came to him, he hadn’t had any predilection to.
“You always know there’s something in there, if you give it a chance to come out,” Pat said of her husband’s writing.
He’s working on his second book now, and the Traylors expect to do a few things differently this time around. But they’re not changing how he writes — on yellow legal pads, with Pat doing the typing.
For more information, go to https://www.edtraylorbooks.com.