Retired insurance agent becomes novelist


When 75-year-old Kalispell author Randy Keel began writing his first novel five years ago, he had no idea he’d be working on a sequel in a new home nearly 2,000 miles away.

A retired insurance agent, Keel was living in Friendship, Tennessee with his wife Donna when he came up with the idea for his first novel, “An Unintended Consequence.”

Keel was watching conservative TV host Laura Ingraham cover the subject of illegal immigration on her Fox New Channel show when the first plot threads of her first political thriller began to form in her head.

During the episode, Ingraham interviewed a number of women who had lost loved ones in incidents involving illegal immigrants, a situation she woven into the storyline of her book.

“I knew what it was like to lose people, so I was extremely understanding when I heard people on that show talk about losing loved ones to the border crisis,” Keel said. “Sometimes it made me cry.”

Self-published through Xlibris and released in May 2021, the storyline of “An Unintended Consequence” follows retired attorney Sam Riley as he seeks revenge for the deaths of his wife, daughter and granddaughter after they are killed in a car accident. car involving a drug-run stowaways.

Instead of blaming the driver of the other vehicle, Riley decides to turn his ire against the politicians who allowed the man into the country in the first place.

The story follows Riley as he becomes a murderer and a serial killer and, eventually, a politician himself.

“Sam thinks the only way to get people’s attention is to do something drastic,” Keel explained of the storyline. “Strangely, this book is more relevant now than when I wrote it. We have people just pouring across our southern border and we have no idea who they are.”

When it came to writing her first novel, Keel says it wasn’t easy, but it was fun.

“It was so much fun writing fiction. Whatever I came up with, I could put it on paper,” she said. “It took me about a year to write. my life. Writing a book wasn’t easy, but it sure was fun.”

With his daughter and son-in-law already living in Kalispell, Keel and his wife (a retired school teacher) decided to up the ante and move to Montana themselves shortly after the book’s publication.

“We came to visit and it was so different than what we were used to in Tennessee. We loved it. We decided that if we ever wanted to move, this was our best shot,” Keel said. “We sold our land, our house and everything in it, right down to the Christmas decorations. they were left on our two vehicles and we headed to Kalispell and we absolutely love it here.

Keel says she spends her time these days enjoying her family and working on her second novel, a prequel to her first called “Cedar Creek Chronicles.”

The new book is a semi-autobiographical story of his character Sam Riley’s early life, told from the streets of his hometown of Cedar Creek, Tennessee.

“I want to do a prequel to my first book to show from childhood how this character got to where he is in my first book,” Keel said. “What does it take for an ordinary man to go from a quiet life to doing what Sam did in “An Unintended Consequence?”

Riley says there is currently no timeline for the release of her second novel, but she hopes to finish it soon.

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