Author Ivy Keating likes the town of Wilton so much, she used it as the setting for her first novel, “Camouflage,” a sci-fi thriller.
The plot of the novel revolves around the police investigation of a missing man and the discovery of a deadly prehistoric-looking creature in Wilton’s Quarry Head Park.
The story takes off from there, combining scientific fact and fantasy with a budding romance. What will the search for the missing man uncover, and what should be done about it?
One of Keating’s taglines for the book is, “Can science and sentiment win out over fear and the determination to destroy?”
Recently released in print, “Camouflage” has earned a spot in the top three percent of Kindle book sales and enjoys a four-star rating on Amazon.
“This is my love letter to Wilton,” said Keating in an interview with The Bulletin.
A 20-year resident of Tanner Drive, Keating is married to Sean Keating, a landscaper and artist.
She was inspired by the town’s natural beauty to set her novel in Wilton. “I’m charmed by the area. Especially in the fall, with the town’s forests and lakes, and the leaves turning color. It’s beautiful around here,” she said.
Desiring to keep the book as fictional as possible, Keating kept specific references to Wilton at a minimum. In addition to Wilton’s Quarry Head Park, one other specific Wilton reference in the book is a police dog named Baso, named for the Wilton Police Department’s real K-9 Baso.
“I'm an animal lover so I thought it would be fun to call the police dog Baso. I reached out to Officer Eric Patenaude, the handler for K-9 Baso and got permission to use Baso’s name,” Keating said.
The rest of the characters in “Camouflage” come from Keating’s imagination and are not based on anyone in real life. Also, settings in the book, other than Quarry Head Park, aren’t based on specific places in Wilton, Keating explained.
Publicizing “Camouflage” has been a family affair, with Keating’s daughters Emma and Katherine helping by filming a trailer for the book at Quarry Head. The trailer is available for viewing at ivykeating.com/camouflage.
Getting “Camouflage” published was a true labor of love for Keating. It took four years from when she first started writing it before it was finally put on the market for sale.
As a first-time author, Keating went through a number of trials and tribulations before her book saw the light of day. “It was a very long process, requiring a lot of work and patience,” Keating said.
Her background did not lend itself to an obvious transition into writing science fiction. Originally from Long Island, Keating went to school for social work at Columbia University. In Wilton, she has been a stay-at-home mother, caring for her four children.
After the idea for “Camouflage” popped into her head, Keating spent two years writing the book and realized she needed professional help editing it since she had no previous writing experience.
Through the Internet, Keating connected with Scott Spotson of Canada. The two agreed to list Spotson, an experienced author, as co-author of “Camouflage” to help the book get published. Keating then spent the next two years with edits and rewrites. She hired a bookwriting coach as well.
In the meantime, Keating searched for a publisher and agent. It took her three years to get an offer and a signed contract.
Rejections piled in. But during that time she got an initial positive response from Knopf Doubleday Publishing requesting a large sample from the story. She eventually got a rejection letter from Knopf — two years after she sent the sample.
While waiting for Knopf, she finally got a publication offer — from the Champagne Book Group. The book was edited again, this time by Champagne and finally, “Camouflage” was released in e-Book format at the end of September 2018, followed by print this past March.
“Through this process, I’ve became a writer,” Keating said. She is now working on her second book.
Print copies of “Camouflage” are on sale in Wilton at Open House Gift Shop, 9 Center Street, and Local Soul, 100-108 Old Ridgefield Road. The book is also available at Wilton Library and on amazon.com. For more information about the author, visit ivykeating.com/. Keating can also be contacted through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.