Author pens mysteries between hikes – Bend Bulletin

Posted: August 5, 2017 at 4:47 pm


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Author William Sullivan

What: Slide show, Ghost Dancers to Rajneeshees: Cults in Oregon

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Paulina Springs Books, 252 W. Hood Ave, Sisters

Cost: free

Contact: paulinasprings.com or 541-549-0866

What: Sullivan discusses new hikes in Oregon

When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: REI, 380 SW Powerhouse Drive, Bend

Cost: free

Contact: rei.com/stores/Bend or 541-385-0594

What: Slide show, Oregons Greatest Natural Disasters

When: 6 p.m. Aug. 10

Where: Sunriver Nature Center

Cost: free

Contact: sunrivernaturecenter.org or 541-593-4394

What: Slide show, New Hikes and Rajneeshees in Southern Oregon

When: noon Aug. 11

Where: Sisters Library, 110 N. Cedar St., Sisters

Cost: free

Contact: deschuteslibrary.org/calendar or 541-312-1070

What: Slide show, Ghost Dancers to Rajneeshees: Cults in Oregon

When: 5 p.m. Aug. 12

Where: Sunriver Books & Music, 57100 Beaver Drive, Building 25-C, Sunriver

Cost: free (registration requested)

Contact: sunriverbooks.com or 541-593-2525

What: Slide show, New Hikes and Rajneeshees in Southern Oregon

When: 2 p.m. Aug. 13

Where: Downtown Bend Library, 601 NW Wall St., Bend

Cost: free

Contact: deschuteslibrary.org/calendar

Eugene author William Bill Sullivan might be doing more running than hiking these days, thanks to his absolutely crazy summer schedule packed with speaking events, hiking research trips and work on his next novel. As part of this whirlwind, Sullivan has six events (and plenty of hiking) slated for his visit to Central Oregon from Saturday through Aug. 13.

Probably best known for his 10 Northwest hiking guide books, including the well regarded Central Oregon Cascades: 100 Hikes/Travel Guide, Sullivan has also published two Oregon histories, two adventure memoirs and five novels.

I actually started writing fiction first, Sullivan said. I have a degree in creative writing from Cornell, but realized you cant make a living doing that so I started doing the hiking guidebooks.

Sullivan is a fifth-generation Oregonian who grew up in Salem, where he nurtured a love of the outdoors. He feels his creative writing background helps his hiking guides stand apart from many on the market thanks to their descriptive narratives, which he hopes will motivate or inspire his readers to get out and complete the hikes and adventures he presents.

Sullivan re-hikes all the trails in his hiking books on a seven- year schedule and frequently updates the guides. He revises the Central Oregon guide annually, posting the new versions online (at oregonhiking.com) and reprinting the updated book every two to three years. He also offers free copies of his guides to anyone who contacts him with corrections to the data and information in them.

The research and updates for his hiking guides take most of the warmer months each year, but that means Sullivan has his winters free for other projects such as his first love fiction.

My fiction is almost entirely about Oregon and Oregon history, Sullivan said. With the hiking guide books, Im showing the physical landscape, but with the fiction, I can talk about the emotional landscape and the cultural landscape.

Sullivans latest novel, The Case of the Reborn Bhagwan, was released in February. The murder mystery centers around a 26-year-old Portland barista who is believed to be the reincarnation of Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, the infamous spiritual leader whose red-robed followers tried to build a utopia north of Madras in the 1980s.

In a case where the facts really were stranger than fiction, the original Rajneeshee commune fell apart when its leaders resorted to attempted murder and mass poisoning in an effort to remove local and state leaders who opposed their presence and the development of their 64,000-acre ranch.

In the novel, the re-established Rajneeshees are now building a new commune on an Indian reservation near Crater Lake when people associated with the project are targeted by a mysterious sniper. Detective Neil Ferguson must expose the killer and uncover the truth behind the Rajneeshee revival.

The novel is meant to be fun, but like all my fiction, Im trying to illuminate an aspect of who we are as Oregonians and give us pause for reflection, said Sullivan.

Sullivan wondered how the Rajneeshee episode might have turned out differently if it had happened today, and felt it was something that deserved to be re-examined beyond the sensational news headlines about the Baghwans collection of Rolls Royce cars and the host of criminal convictions against the groups leaders after its collapse.

Some of Sullivans Central Oregon events (see If you go) will focus on hiking, some on the states history and others on The Case of the Reborn Bhagwan. And at some, the author will wear both his fiction and nonfiction hats literally. Sullivan likes to wear his hiking hat when discussing the hiking guides, and remove it to talk about his novel.

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Author pens mysteries between hikes - Bend Bulletin

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August 5th, 2017 at 4:47 pm