Complementing my daily blog interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the sixty-fourth, is of non-fiction and thriller writer Jeff Rasley.
Jeff Rasley is author of Light in the Mountains — A Hoosier Quaker finds Communal Enlightenment in Nepal, Islands in My Dreams, Nepal Himalayas — in the Moment, False Prophet? and Bringing Progress to Paradise.
He practiced law for thirty years in Indianapolis, Indiana and was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar. He has an outstanding academic record: graduate of the University of Chicago, A.B. magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, All-Academic All-State Football Team and letter winner in swimming and football; Indiana University School of Law, J.D. cum laude, Moot Court and Indiana Law Review; Christian Theological Seminary, M.Div. magna cum laude, co-valedictorian and Faculty Award Scholar.
Jeff is currently President of the Basa Village Foundation USA Inc. and U.S. liaison for the Nepal-based Himalayan expedition company, Adventure GeoTreks, Ltd. He teaches classes for IUPUI Continuing Ed. Program and Indiana Writers Center.
For chairing the Indiana-Tennessee Civic Memorial Commission, Jeff received Proclamations of Salutation from the Governors of Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Pennsylvania and he was made an honorary Lieutenant Colonel Aide-de-Camp of the Alabama State Militia, a Kentucky Colonel and honorary Citizen of Tennessee. He was given a Key to the City of Indianapolis for his report on the safety conditions of Indy Parks. Jeff received the Man of the Year award from the Arthur Jordan YMCA.
Jeff has published numerous articles and photos in academic and mainstream periodicals, including Newsweek, Chicago Magazine, ABA Journal, Family Law Review, Pacific Magazine, Indy’s Child, The Journal of Communal Societies, The Chrysalis Reader, Faith & Fitness Magazine, Friends Journal and Real Travel Adventures International Magazine. He gives programs about adventure travel and philanthropy to service clubs, community organizations and churches. He is an avid outdoorsman and recreational athlete. He leads trekking-mountaineering expeditions in Nepal and has solo-kayaked around several Pacific island groups. Jeff also loves to read and considers completing Marcel Proust’s 3600-page Remembrance of Things Past as one of his most enjoyable accomplishments.
Married to Alicia Rasley, Jeff is a multi-published author, RITA Award winner, and University professor.
And now from the author himself:
I started writing bad poetry as a teenager and graduated to short stories and feature articles in college. I honed my craft at feature article writing as much as time permitted through graduate schools, practicing law, domestic husbandry and raising two sons. My loves other than wife, kids and writing have been sports and what has been called adventure travel.
After one semester I dropped out of college and hitch-hiked across the country. I spent the next summer traveling around Europe by any means necessary. The following summer I motorcycled from Northern Indiana to Mexico City. Career, marriage and kids slowed me down somewhat, but I have set foot in over 40 countries. I’ve climbed several Himalayan peaks and have been leading Himalayan trekking and mountaineering expeditions for a decade. I managed to survive an avalanche and getting lost at sea in a solo kayak in the Palau Islands.
Eventually travel for the sake of adventure and personal curiosity was insufficiently meaningful. I began to “philanthro-trek” – combining travel with philanthropy in the new millennium. A special relationship developed with a remote Himalayan village. Two friends and I were only the third group of “white people” to visit the village. Leaders of the village and I established the Basa Village Project, which has grown into a Nepal-based NGO and a U.S. nonprofit corporation to benefit Basa and other Himalayan villages.
Three of the books I have written tell the story of how I came to have a special relationship with the Rai people and the wisdom I have gained from them about environmentalism, spirituality and community. I have tried to give a truthful account of the 3 Cups of Tea received from my friends in the Nepal Himalayas.
A fourth book, Islands in My Dreams is an anthology of personal essays about unique island cultures I have experienced in my travels. For example, Tonga has the fattest kings and the longest ruling family dynasty of current monarchs. Palau is the most litigious society on earth with three lawsuits for every citizen. Islands are where dreams and nightmares come true.
False Prophet? is my first attempt at fiction, although it is inspired by a case I handled twenty years ago. It is an inspirational mystery, romantic suspense and political / legal thriller; a story of love lost and found and a rant against the inequities of the legal system. The story is gritty but uplifting. It reveals the seamy underside of local politics in Indianapolis. But it also shows how white folks and African-Americans can work together for justice. The love story is one of frustration and self-destruction, but ultimately understanding, reconciliation, renewed intimacy and a baby.
Thank you, Jeff. You can find more about Jeff and his writing via his website www.jeffreyrasley.com
The blog interviews will return as normal tomorrow with editor and novelist Jennifer Ciotta – the two hundred and ninety-eighth of my blog interviews with novelists, poets, short story authors, biographers, agents, publishers and more. A list of interviewees (blogged and scheduled) can be found here. If you like what you read, please do go and investigate further. And I enjoy hearing from readers of my blog; do either leave a comment on the relevant interview (the interviewees love to hear from you too!) and / or email me. You can read / download my eBooks from Smashwords, Sony Reader Store, Barnes & Noble, iTunes Bookstore and Kobo (Amazon to follow). And I have a new forum at http://morgenbailey.freeforums.org.