The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Ghost town Frankfort now a setting for books


February 15, 2018

Diana Zimmerman

Castle Rock author Kristine Kibbee has a series of young adult books that were inspired by stories she heard about Frankfort, a riverfront ghost town border of Wahkiakum and Pacific counties.

Kristine Kibbee, an author from Castle Rock, found inspiration for a series of her books in Wahkiakum County, in a place she has never been, and that she has only seen in pictures.

"Decades ago, a friend told me that she and her brother used play out behind their homes in some abandoned houses that had been overgrown with trees," Kibbee said. "I was so entranced."

Her uncle who does security for a timber company brought her one step closer to the mysterious town.

"He used to live down in that area," Kibbee said. "He told me there was a whole town like that out by Altoona, and that you couldn't get to it. He thought that the people who used to work at the cannery lived there."

Her uncle didn't know the name of the town, but he suggested that she call the Wahkiakum County Historical Society. She did.

"The woman didn't know what I was talking about," Kibbee laughed. "She came back with an older woman who said, 'I know where that is! That's Frankfort."

The historical society sent Kibbee information and pictures and suddenly the foundation for her story had some more structure.

"Of course, the town in my story is different," Kibbee said. "It's Victorian houses. It's cursed by a century old fairy curse. But this image of this town sitting out there overgrown by the wilds of the Pacific Northwest stuck in my head and became the backdrop for the series."

The series is written for young adults and is called Forests of the Fae. Book one is Devlin's Door. The second is The Raven Queen, the most recent release is Lang's Labyrinth.

"A lot of the stuff I write is partially based in facts," Kibbee said. "There were a series of books, compilations of fairy stories, by Andrew Lang. He compiled 12 fairy books, and they are named for colors."

"This whole series focuses around this town that gets raptured," Kibbee added, "but there is a separate dimension, a fairy world and it consists of 12 forests. They are named after Andrew Lang's books."

Kibbee has been collecting Lang's books, but it's a lot slower than you might imagine on a writer's income.

"I'm a poor writer so I only have a few," she laughed. "We always make jokes about being a writer. 'I'm broke more times than the ice cream machine at McDonalds.' You do not make a lot of money."

"You don't choose to be a writer," Kibbee said. "You just are. I would love to not be a writer. I would love to be a neurosurgeon. I would love to be ridiculously famous at something that is actually going to profit me. But I just am a writer."

Kibbee has always written. When she was a kid she would clip pictures of dogs out of magazines and then write stories about them. She wrote her first novel in her twenties and studied professional writing at Washington State University in Vancouver. She was offered a great paying job to write manuals for a local company, but it wasn't what she wanted to do.

"Fiction is too delicious," she said. "I just love fiction."

She is currently writing a series about a Corgi for her publishers, Incorgnito. The series is called Theodore and the Enchanted Bookstore.

"Their mascot is a little Corgi," Kibbee said of her publishers. "The books are all about a little Corgi that can't see, has been abandoned at the pound, and gets adopted by the owner of an enchanted bookstore."

Kibbee, who normally writes for a slightly older set, was concerned that she might not be the right author for these books, meant for a younger audience.

"I don't have little kids," she said. "I didn't want to speak down to them. But we discovered that the books causes them to branch out and learn. They might have to get their dictionary out a couple times."

When not working on the Corgi series, she writes for a dog magazine, ponders another yet unnamed project, goes on long walks, and hangs out with her husband and two French Bulldogs. And if there is a writing deadline looming? She gets a lot of cleaning done.


Reader Comments

Enchantment writes:

Having read the first two of Kristi Kibbie's books I am delighted there is a third. It's a good thing that she is compelled to write, because what she writes is very good.


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