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Finishing a father's literary dream

The background story of the recently released “Running with the President,” by Redwood Publishing, LLC is an inspiring story unto itself.

Described as a Political/Assassination/Conspiracy Thriller, “Running with the President,” mirrors today’s headlines, while managing an escape from reality for the reader. The romantic political thriller centers around an assassination attempt on the President which turns into a twisted turn of mistaken identity and romance.

“I’m excited and thrilled to see it in print,” co-author August Martin, Jr. shared of the novel.

His excitement is equally echoed by his mother, Elsie Martin, whose idea it was to complete her late husband, August Martin’s dream.

“My dad was this Portuguese farmer, known for his gregarious personality but also known for his temper,” Martin Jr. said of his late father, who owned the family dairy farm in Valley Home. “He was tough. He had these two sides.”

The “two sides” the co-author speaks of would be something which later blossomed from being a well-known storyteller/life of the party to a “renaissance man,” who took to writing poetry, playing violin and decided to write a book.

“Dad didn’t read,” Martin Jr. shared of his father’s need to stay busy and rarely sit still.

Yet in his early 50s he shared with his wife Elsie that he wanted to write a book. Setting up an office in the family’s barn to escape and unleash his creativity, the dairy farmer first took to poetry. A passion which eventually led to him becoming the treasurer of the San Joaquin Poet Society.

“Dad wrote on napkins, he wrote on scraps of paper, everything was handwritten,” Martin Jr. said of the early unfolding of the current book.

In the early ‘90s with the help of daughter Lisa Martin, all of the scraps, napkins and papers by Martin, Sr. were typewritten.

“He wanted to get this book published for years,” his son said. “Then my dad had a stroke in 1996 and the book just kind of went on the back burner.”

The severity of the stroke was one which left the senior Martin’s wife Elsie advocating for her husband, as doctor after doctor left them with little hope for his recovery. Yet he did recover and with his wife leading the way, one of two of his life dreams was fulfilled prior to his passing in 2006.

The first of the two dreams was to open and offer a safe place for children in need. In 2002 after much hard work, fundraising and community support, the couple opened the Children’s Guardian House, located in Oakdale. The Guardian House is a children’s shelter for abused, neglected and high-risk youths from infant through 17 years of age.

“I just said, I think we should complete dad’s dream,” Elsie said of getting his book published, approaching the idea with her son in early 2020. “We didn’t know at the time that we were going to have it for this fundraiser. We had no idea, that just came up.”

The fundraiser, where the book was available for sale, was hosted in mid-August this year, and is put on annually in Farmington to benefit the Oakdale Guardian House.

“I needed a project,” Martin Jr. said of taking on the book. “So, I decided to pick up the book, but we only had a typed version of it. We didn’t have an electronic version.”

With a then-first grader at home distance learning, Martin Jr. began reviewing the book and quickly realized a project that he thought would take three weeks to edit and review, quickly turned into eight months.

“I knew the story. I knew the framework of the story. I had just never read it,” the co-author said, noting that the book sort of jumped around and he needed to read it before completing the digitizing. As he did, he realized it needed a bit more work.

Martin Jr. shared the book is absolutely his dad’s book. Through his fixes, enhancements and edits, Martin Jr. said he feels he’s contributed to about 20 percent of the book.

“I’m not a writer, dad’s not a writer,” he said, sharing feelings of being an imposter, after receiving 12 pages of the fixes from their editor.

Yet as time went by, the notes began to make sense to the co-author and after eight more months, the final product was ready for print.

“Mom’s feeling is that if he could have started his life over when he was younger,” Martin Jr. said of his father, “he probably would have had a totally different career. He did what he did because that’s what he knew.”

“It’s exciting to have it completed, because that was August’s dream,” Elsie shared. “That was way before he had the stroke. So, I had thought, well I’ll print a few copies, he thinks he’s a writer.”

Now the completed work can be found on all internet book sites including Barnes and Noble and Amazon. A portion of proceeds from book sales will benefit continued work at the Children’s Guardian Home.

“I’m unbelievably excited and happy,” Elsie stated.