A retired insurance agent becomes a novelist


When 75-year-old Kalispell author Randy Keel set out to write 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 the idea for his first novel, An Unintended Consequence, came to him.

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

During the episode, Ingraham interviewed a number of women who had lost loved ones in incidents involving illegal immigrants, a situation he wove into the plot of his book.

“I knew what it was like to lose people, so I was extremely sympathetic when I heard people on that show talk about losing loved ones to the border crisis,” Keel said. “It would bring me to tears sometimes.”

Self-published by Xlibris and released in May 2021, “The Unintended Consequence” follows retired attorney Sam Riley as he seeks revenge for the deaths of his wife, daughter and granddaughter after they were killed in a drug-fueled car accident. leading illegal immigrant.

Instead of blaming the driver of the other vehicle, Riley decides to turn his anger on the politicians who allowed him to be in the country in the first place.

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

“Sam feels the only way he can get people’s attention is to do something drastic,” Keel explained of the plot. “Surprisingly, 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.”

As for writing his first novel, Keel says it wasn’t easy, but it was enjoyable.

“It was a lot of fun writing fiction. Whatever came to my mind, I could make it happen on paper,” he said. “It took me about a year to write. I would go off on these tangents and all I could think about was writing them down in a book. I’ve never written much in my life. Writing the book was not easy, but it was certainly fun.”

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

“We came to visit and it was so different from what we were used to in Tennessee. We just loved him. We decided this would be our best chance if we ever wanted to move,” Keel said. “We sold our land, our house and everything in it – right down to the Christmas decorations. We loaded the few things we had left into our two vehicles and drove 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, titled “Cedar Creek Chronicles.”

The new book is a semi-autobiographical account of the early life of his character Sam Riley, 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 the point where he is in my first book,” Keel said. “What does it take for an ordinary person to go from a quiet life to what Sam did in ‘An Unintended Consequence?’

Riley says he currently has no timetable for publishing his second novel, but hopes to finish it soon.

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