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Published May 21, 2010, 12:00 AM

The storyteller

Mike Troy is a natural-born storyteller. In the library of his old farmhouse in Miltona Township, he sits in his rocking chair, telling stories of Scottish history, queens and castles.

Mike Troy is a natural-born storyteller. In the library of his old farmhouse in Miltona Township, he sits in his rocking chair, telling stories of Scottish history, queens and castles.

As he pets the cat crawling on his lap, he vividly describes its lack of tail and how he saved it from death. A story about stumbling upon his once-dilapidated farmhouse comes alive through his imaginative words.

“I do have a vivid imagination,” Troy said. “I would make up stories for the kids at night instead of reading.”

Troy discovered that his ability to bring a story to life through the spoken word transcended into putting them on paper. Although he knew he had a certain “knack” for writing, it wasn’t until 10 years ago that he realized it was more than just a hobby – it was a calling.

After serving as a police officer in Seattle for two decades, Troy, his late wife, Patty, and their two children moved to their Douglas County farmhouse 22 years ago to escape city life. Troy went to work as a machinist at ITW Heartland in Alexandria.

Because his wife was an avid horsewoman, Troy was immersed in a world of horses, training, riding and showing. It was a perfect environment to nurture the stories racing through his head.

“Someone said, ‘Why don’t you write an article about showing horses,’ ” Troy recalled.

He took their advice and started writing down his equine anecdotes, eventually submitting some to horse magazines. It paid off. Three of his stories were published in different magazines. This got him thinking that becoming a writer was more than a possibility.

In the meantime, Troy started working on a historical fiction novel, which he describes as “ancient Celtic history intertwined with modern-day romance and horses.”

Two years ago, when Troy was halfway through the book, his wife died from injuries sustained from a fall while jumping her horse. The novel was pushed aside as he dealt with his grief.

But when he wrote a tribute to her, he realized that with his words, he could inspire feeling and emotions in others – and it got him back in the writing saddle. He wrote the tribute as if he were Patty’s horse, and read it at a horse show.

“People came up to me bawling, grabbing me and hugging me. There were tears rolling down my face. It was so emotional,” Troy said.

“I seem to be able to get my feelings into my writing,” he surmised of why people appreciate his writing. “I get emotional and it’s kinda weird. Apparently the feelings come across to other people.”

Troy recently returned to work on his novel and hopes to complete it within six months. He has also started writing children’s stories, inspired by the desire to impress a friend’s granddaughter on her birthday.

“I did the story live for the kids,” he said of his tale of ice fishing and ice fairies. “They were mesmerized.”

Troy’s writing has become such a driving force in his life, he recently quit his job to devote himself to the craft full time.

“I’m going to write a lot,” he said with anticipation. “I know I need to write. And if I start writing, I can’t stop. Once I get started, I get an idea and go with it.”

Of course, Troy hopes that one day his first novel and his children’s story are published, but if not, he’s happy doing what he loves to do.

“My job is to convey a complete story in a proper form so it is publishable,” he concluded. “I just want to write. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, that’s OK too. I have other things to do to keep myself in groceries.”

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