A shoe box of memories

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Lynette Orten, her husband, Dodd, and their dog, Scotty, live a very different life than most Demopolites. Instead of a landlocked home with a yard for their dog to run around in, they share their lives in a space of approximately 37 feet.

The Ortens currently live on their 37-foot Gulfstar sailboat at the Demopolis Marina, where they have lived since 2005.

When the Ortens came to Demopolis, they had recently decided to make a life change by sailing down the Tennessee and Tombigbee Rivers on their way to the Texas coast to visit their daughter.

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After about a month of living in Demopolis, the Ortens knew they were not going to be continuing down to the coast due to the debris and difficulty of traveling after the storm.

Their boat, Seaquestor, was owned by an attorney in their former homeyown of Greeneville, Tenn. The name is a play on words, Orten said. In the legal profession, to sequester means to keep separate or apart from, for instance jurors in a high profile case are sequestered in case they receive threats or outside influence during the case. The spelling of the boat’s name lends itself to mean one who makes sea quests.

But for Orten and her husband, their boat also sequestered them in the first sense, in that it kept them out of harm’s way during the hurricane.

Lynette is originally from California and grew up in a large city. Despite her childhood, she said, she has always wanted to live in a small town.

Recently Lynettte added another title to her resume: published author. Her first novel, &8220;The Shoe Box,&8221; was published in January and was written during her first year living in Demopolis.

Orten had worked in the medical insurance field for many years, but had always wanted to do some writing. She previously wrote magazine articles for Latitudes and Attitudes, a lifestyle sailing magazine, but never wrote a full-scale novel.

The book begins with the death of the main character, and the rest of the book deals with her family members finding out about their mother with the discovery of a shoe box full of letters from her past. Lynette also says the book discusses how secrets in a family can be detrimental to the different relationships.

One of Lynette’s primary concerns in life, which is thematically seen in book, is with women’s issues.

The process of writing the book, Lynette said, was one that taught her about her goals in life. She said that she and her husband, who are always doing projects together, made long and short plans, but somehow the hurricane took them on a different course in life.

Lynette said she came upon her current publisher by accident. Wherever she and her husband stay, she always makes a point to find the local library. On one of her visits to the Demopolis Public Library, she just happened to see a sheet of paper that talked about the publishing company Publish America, which she believes must have been left there by another author.

Lynette said a college English teacher told her she had good ideas, but she needed to stay focused.

For now, Lynette is focused on her life in Demopolis, which she says will be for a while.

She is working on another book project, which is due out sometime in the near future.

If you would like to find out more information about her book, visit www.publishedauthors.net/orten123.

Kelli Wright is a staff writer for The Demopolis Times. She can be reached by e-mail at kelli.hilyer@demopolistimes.com.