As a youngster, Talent resident Brandt Legg's life was almost as incredible as that of the 16-year-old protagonist of his New Age supernatural thriller, "Outview."
He became obsessed with collecting stamps at the tender age of 10 and eventually built the hobby into a thriving business.
"I bought an envelope with a stamp on it for 25 cents and was later offered $85 for it. As a kid, that was a fortune," Legg said.
Then came real estate deals that further enriched him, until it all came crashing down when he was a young adult.
Legg said he became ensnarled in the financial whirlwind of the junk bond 1980s, started cutting corners and did things he now wishes he could change.
A five-year investigation followed, and Legg spent a year in federal prison for financial improprieties.
"It changed my life and it turned out to be a very good thing for me," said Legg, now 46. "I'd been obsessed with business. In prison, I was working for 12 cents an hour. You have nothing to do but think. During that process, I fell in love with writing."
Legg penned an unpublished autobiography of his wild youth, but felt constrained by the world of nonfiction.
"There were court records and press reports. I had to make sure everything was entirely accurate. It was daunting and frustrating," he recalled. "I kept thinking, 'I wish I could write fiction and see where the story takes me instead of double-checking and triple-checking facts.' "
Legg wanted to write a young adult novel that reflected the New Age beliefs of his mother, but felt unsure about whether people would want to read such a book.
But emboldened by the wave of children's and young adult literature, such as the Harry Potter series about youthful magicians and the Twilight series about vampires and werewolves, Legg set to work, releasing "Outview" this year.
In the book, Nathan Ryder begins to have waking nightmares in which he is catapulted back in time and experiences grisly deaths.
Only later does he learn that he is reliving his past lives.
The same types of visions appear to have claimed the sanity of his older brother, Dustin, who is locked up in a mental asylum.
The book takes place in the Rogue Valley, at Crater Lake National Park, on the Oregon Coast and on the flanks of Mount Shasta.
Legg accurately describes these locations, which will bring the story to life for area residents.
Nathan isn't alone in his adventures.
Legg populates the book with other teen characters in the form of Nathan's friends Kyle, Linh and Amber.
Nathan also gets help from various spiritual advisers who appear and show him how to harness a range of supernatural powers.
Among other skills, he learns to read people's minds, see their past lives and make them see things that aren't there.
The book bogs down in spots as Nathan undergoes his spiritual training and learns to use a whole smorgasbord of powers. The spiritual guides also are preachy at times, going on about how human greed is destroying the planet and threatening the human race.
But Nathan has a healthy dose of skepticism about everything he encounters, as well as a sense of humor.
Teens and young adults who like reading supernatural books may find a new favorite with "Outview," which is the first book in a planned trilogy.
"Outview" is available at Bloomsbury Books, 290 E. Main St., Ashland, and as a paperback or ebook via www.amazon.com.
Reach reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-479-8199 or email@example.com.