Local writer e-publishes first short story

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These days, Stellarton’s Ray Burns is about as busy as Santa.

The father of two works full time, volunteers, is raising his family with his wife Sheri and, oh yeah, just wrote his first short book — approximately 5,000 words that delight readers from beginning to end.

Burns, an aviation buff, penned a tale about the infamous D.B. Cooper, who has always fascinated the author. He begins his tale with this introduction: On November 24, 1971, a man claiming to have a bomb in his briefcase hijacked Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 from Portland, Oregon to Seattle,Washington. He demanded and received four parachutes and $200,000 in cash when the Boeing 727 landed in Seattle. He then released all 36 passengers and some of the cabin crew. The hijacker forced the flight crew to take off and told them to head toward Mexico with a planned fuel stop in Reno, Nevada. Somewhere between Seattle and Reno, the man disappeared from the plane and was never seen again. All that he left behind were two of the parachutes and a clip-on necktie. To this day, he is known by the name D.B. Cooper, and the FBI kept an active file on the case until they finally threw in the towel in July 2016.They called it ‘redirecting resources.’ Many theories continue to swirl around the mysterious skyjacker, and several people have come forward claiming to be Cooper, but none have convinced the FBI that they were him. The authorities investigated hundreds of people but never made an arrest. It’s a story that still rivets the public’s imagination.

The e-book may leave some readers wondering if the author actually tracked down and interviewed the notorious Cooper. Spoiler alert: It’s a total work of fiction that begins with Cooper telling readers: First things first, my real name is not D.B. Cooper, as you likely already know. Some fool reporter got the facts mixed up back then. I used the name Dan Cooper to buy my ticket. Here’s the thing, I wasn’t stupid enough to use my real name then, and I’m not stupid enough to tell you now.

The Advocate managed to snag a quick Q&A with the author.

Q: I am guessing this is a work of fiction? Or were you really chatting with the real DB Cooper?

A: Yes, this is a work of fiction. Cooper disappeared once he jumped out of the plane. Over the years people have claimed they figured out who he was, but nothing’s ever been proven.

Q: What inspired you to write it?

A: I can’t really say. It was just an idea that came to me and stuck in my mind until I wrote it.

Q: What is your interest in DB Cooper? Are you interested in crime in general?

A: I’ve always had an interest in aviation and that’s what drew me to the story of Cooper. I like crime fiction too, so I was drawn to it that way as well.

Q: How does a full-time working father of two find time to write a 5,000 word book?

A: Because it’s not too long it wasn’t difficult. I just did a lot of it in my head and then wrote and edited it over time.

Q: Why the interest in digital as opposed to print?

A: Digital self-publishing is easy. I could do it on my own time and didn’t have to try to find a magazine, short story collection, or website that would want to publish it.

Q: How can people purchase the book?

A: It was released on December 13. It’s available through Apple Books, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble. It will be on Amazon and Smashwords soon as well.

Q: Is there another book by Ray Burns in the works?

A: I’ve got a few ideas I’m working on, but nothing concrete right now.

Q: The cover is eye-catching. Tell us about it.

A: It was designed by my friend Kevin Bent. I gave him an idea of what I wanted and he did the rest. I think it looks great and really represents the whole heart of the D.B. Cooper mystery for anyone that’s familiar with the tale. Now I have to buy him lunch in return.

Check it out at https://books2read.com/theconfessionofdbcooper