As Kim Fairley’s two children became young adults, they began asking questions about their late father, Vernon Fairley, who passed away when they were young. Because details are sometimes lost as time passes, Kim Fairley decided she wanted to record those details for her children. The result is a book called “Shooting Out The Lights” that will have a local reading in July and will be available for purchase in August.
The book’s publisher summarizes it like this: “‘Shooting Out the Lights’ unravels like a mystery novel. It begins with the death of fourteen-year-old Ben, after a gun accident. A few years later, Kim is twenty-four and meets Ben’s father, Vern, who is fifty-six. They become close friends, marry, and soon learn Kim is pregnant. But their life is turned upside down when the widow of Vern’s dear friend calls Vern in need of a favor. She convinces him to take her eleven-year-old son whose troubling behavior challenges Kim’s devotion, trust, and the underpinnings of her marriage. The story explores the taboo of wide age gap love. It also wrestles with the secrets we keep from each other as well as the ongoing wrenching aftermath of gun violence, and the healing that comes with confronting the past.”
Although she only lived in the Hillsboro area for about 10 years, Kim Fairley said the town and its characters left a lasting impression on her.
But, she said, “Shooting Out The Lights” did not turn out like she originally intended.
“As it developed I realized the story is about history and Vern’s loss of his son — he wouldn’t talk much about that or health issues,” Fairley said. “When people don’t talk, other people think, and that’s what I did in this book.”
She said the book is about pulling out the story of her time in Hillsboro, getting that story to the public, and hopefully helping others heal.
Fairley was born in Plainfield, New Jersey and raised in Cincinnati. A competitive swimmer during her younger years and through college, she attended the University of Southern California and holds a master of fine arts degree in mixed media from the the University of Michigan. She currently lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
After college Fairley said she tried to make ends meet working as a beach life guard in Los Angeles, but was struggling. So in 1980 she moved in with her parents, who by then had moved to the Rocky Fork Lake area.
Not long after that she met Vernon Fairley. She left the Hillsboro area in 1989.
“Shooting Out The Lights” is Kim Fairley’s second book. Her first book, “Boreal Ties: Photographs and Two Diaries of the 1901 Peary Relief Expedition”, chronicled the Arctic expedition of her great-grandfather, Clarence Wyckoff, and his friend, Louis Bement.
Her new book will be available for preorder on July 27.
On Aug. 13, she will hold a book reading at the Highland County District Library in Hillsboro and after that will be signing books from 3-4 p.m. The following day she will be at the Highland County Historical Society’s Pioneer Day at the Scott House in Hillsboro selling her book from the society’s booth.
“There are a lot of people from (the 1980s) in Hillsboro that were part of my life,” Fairley said. “A few people that were important to Vern’s life and my life are key to the story.
“I hope it will be a nice reunion around the book. I have very positive memories about Hillsboro. Really, Hillsboro is kind of a character in the book.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.