Alan Oberdeck Books


Why I Wrote Lost in the Shadows?

I was good friends with a Lutheran pastor who, had fallen in love and married a Catholic
girl before he felt the call to become a Lutheran Minister. We were discussing the
unintentional consequences of falling in love with a girl of another faith and the effect it
had on the families of both persons.
He had gone through that with his wife and I had been interested in girls of other
than Lutheran fait in my grade school and high school days. During our discussion he
encouraged me to write a story about that subject. It took me a few years of thinking
about that subject and after I retired I decided to write a fictional novel about the subject.
How did you come up with a story plan?
I looked back at where I came from and what had happened during my life. I was raised
on a farm in southern Wisconsin. I experienced World War II as a small child. I
attended a one room eight grade school. It was a small farming community and the
school usually had about seventeen students. We were of different faith backgrounds. I
used that background in fashioning my story. The same was also there in the public high
school I attended for three years.
After graduating from college I took a job with a manufacturing company which
would lead to a sales territory. The job had me start in the service department to learn the
product and then travel with the salesmen in their territories to give service training to the
dealers and sell parts and train them to sell service contracts with the machines they sold.
In this capacity I traveled with the salesmen in their territories. That led to my having a
sales territory for that company. After that I was a traveling salesman with two different
companies for thirty-five years. I used the knowledge I gained from many years of travel
in my story.
I had a friend from grade school, a girl, who died in a fiery auto crash at a young
I had spent time in a hospital on various occasions.
I have been married to a RN for 60+ years. She graduated nursing school as my
In “Lost in the Shadows” I tried to use my past experiences to weave them into a
compelling mystery. My editor said that it in the mystery genre people get killed and I
didn’t kill anyone, but I wove two compelling love stories and it qualified as Christian
fiction Romance.
In the book subjects covered you list Medical.
In 1952 when I was twelve years old I suffered from polio and spent about six
months recovering in a hospital. Because of that I have had to make adjustments in the
way I have lived all my life. I am known as a post-polio survivor.
During my travel, I suffered a fall in a restaurant and shattered the tibia plateau in
my right leg. During the surgery to rebuild the knee joint, the Anesthesiologist had to be
careful because some post-polio people have trouble waking up. So he went light on the
anesthesia and gave me the medicine which would erase any memory I would have if I
would be slightly awake during the surgery. This caused me to suffer from a form of
amnesia. Before the operation, I didn’t need a road map in the big cities I worked. After

the surgery I lost my map knowledge and got lost even reading a map. I got 80% of that
back two years later.
Why did you pick Williamson, West Virginia as the setting?
When I was traveling with the salesman from the manufacturing company he was based
in Charleston, West Virginia. One of the cities we visited was Williamson. Williamson
is located on the Tug River in the Tug River Valley which is on the border with
Kentucky. To get there from Charleston you have to cross some mountains. Being a
“Flat Lander” (raised in Wisconsin) the salesman wanted to scare me by driving through
a mountain pass to get there. He didn’t scare me, but that mountain pass remained in my
memory. It was a pass through the mountains with a sharp left-hand turn as the road
broke through between two peaks. If you failed to turn your car would go off a cliff and
land on a ledge. I used that ledge in my story.
During my visit there the people were very accommodating and the training went
well. The town stayed in my memory.
You seem very familiar with Williamson, did you ever live there?
I wanted to be very accurate with my description of the area therefore I spent a week
living there. During that week I spent time researching the history in the library. I drove
the roads, I walked the streets and I talked to some of the people. The area described in
the book is map accurate for that area, except for the house at which he recuperated. You
can drive all the roads and visit the places all the places mentioned in the book.
Can the same be said for Milton, Edgerton, and Stoughton, Wisconsin?
Yes, I grew up in that part of Wisconsin. All of the roads can be found, except the farm
where “John” grew up on.
You have John working and paying off his debt.
Again I tried to be accurate as to what he was paid to the point that he even paid income
taxes. I had kept records of my own income and taxes during that time therefore I used
my forms to figure out what his tax would be and even his tax refund.
Do you have any additional comments about the book?
There really are three points of view or storylines in the book. The first is the
unintended consequences of two people of different religious faith falling in love. The
second is the mystery of who is John Rockhouse. Where did he come from and why can’t
he remember? The third is the historical setting and the culture of the times.

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