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How does a businessman, husband, and father arrive at a place in his life where he feels compelled to put daily responsibilities aside, and write a novel?

 

“The pieces of this tale were spinning around in my head. I found myself daydreaming. It didn’t help that I was immersed in business deals, school board issues and questioning the kind of education we’d arranged for our two high school-aged daughters.”

Three months later with the core of his book completed, Larson ended the brief sabbatical, returned to his professional work and began to look for a publisher.

“When I was in college, we read and discussed a number of wonderful books. But the stuff that’s published these days seems to be written by people whose vision has nothing at its center. They write of dark things and a world that some commentators have called ‘opaque, undependable and strange.’ ”

That wasn’t what Larson’s perspective had become, but certainly seemed to be true of some of the teachers at the schools his kids had attended – even the private ones.

“My years in business and involvement in community groups and church organizations prepared me to tell a story that contrasted with the secularist view prevalent in today’s schools.”

But the writing did not come easily.

“I started out thinking that I’d be able to effortlessly recall from memory the stories from my youth. Soon I found myself having to stop in the middle of a chapter to dig out a book from the shelf or make a trip to the library, just to make sure that my recollection of a story was correct. There were several surprises. That’s one of the reasons I suggest that parents make sure their kids understand whether a character in a book or movie represents good or evil. It’s not always easy these days. Especially if you’re not so sure what those two words mean.”

Asked to comment on his writing style and liberal use of dialogue:

“I would much rather read characters’ conversations, and learn about their inner most thoughts from their words and deeds, than plod through long passages of narrative and the author’s take on what a character is thinking. ReEnchantment is uplifting because it reflects my outlook. It’s like G.K. Chesterton writes in the preface to his book, Orthodoxy: [an] unavoidably affirmative and therefore unavoidably autobiographical [tale].”

Elaborating on the short biography on his book’s back cover, the author had the following to say:

“I’ve had opinions about education and schools for years. But these kinds of thoughts only really start to get focused when your kids are born and – before you know it – off to school. We’d become pretty disenchanted with the local public school and made a decision to enroll both girls in a nearby Catholic Parish School after talking with some friends who had done the same. We always were involved parents.

“I was invited by the Superintendent to join The Consultative School Board for the Department of Schools in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in 1999. I'm the only Protestant member and take my role seriously. Catholic Parish Schools do a great job. And with typical enrollments of non-Catholics at 20%, I’m not alone in that opinion.”

Membership on the school board puts Larson in a position to observe and help with some of the problems that parochial schools face in certain communities. Families don’t always have money for tuition even though they recognize the value of a faith-based education. And Larson knows from experience, the importance of Judeo-Christian values in the workforce.

“I’m a businessman. I make a living as a professional recruiter, working primarily with manufacturing companies that need hard to find technical talent. So I’m very aware of the importance of an educated, honest and moral workforce. And how faith based education forms this kind of citizen."

A high point on his long list of volunteer activities was being asked to chair the inaugural Marywood Business Ethics Conference, in support of struggling Catholic schools in Orange County, California.

"We were fortunate to get Michael Novak, the noted writer and theologian as our keynote speaker for the first conference; Naomi Schaffer Riley, a brilliant writer for The Wall Street Journal (and author of God on the Quad) for the second conference; and Dr. Sam Gregg of The ACTON Institute (author of On Ordered Liberty) for the third. They were successful events and great exeriences.”

ReEnchantment is Ken’s first novel.