Originally published in the Daily Republic on April 09 , 2015 By Kevin W. Green
During his career as a clinical social worker, Lincoln Beals wrote probation reports, research papers and mental health evaluations. The 78-year-old retiree, who lives with his wife in Fairfield, now concentrates his time on writing novels.
Beals may be retired, but that doesn’t mean the Los Angeles native has a leisurely approach to life and his new career as an author. He launches into his writing every morning, with a goal of cranking out 1,000 words each day.
Beals and his family moved to Solano County when he got a job at the California Medical Facility, where he was employed for 11 years. He later worked for the Department of Defense – providing counseling to military members and their families at Travis Air Force Base, as well as military installations in Alaska and Germany.
It was the loss of a close friend in 1987 that eventually led Beals to his new career. His friend’s suicide stayed with him for many years. In 2005, he wrote a fictionalized story of his friend’s last six months. That draft still remains on the hard drive of his computer.
Then on an airplane flight in 2013, Beals struck up a conversation with a fellow passenger – who had authored many books. Beals discovered the possibility of self-publishing and launched a new career at the age of 77.
He began research for his writing soon after that meeting. Eight months of writing produced his first novel, “Take the High Road, an Irish Odyssey,” which was published in April 2014.
Beal’s research focused on the Irish in the 18th and 19th centuries and what happened to families in Ireland. The setting of his first book begins in 1851. The fictitious families he created will eventually lead up to the family of his friend in the 20th century, Beals said.
“I’m trying to pull real events in history and fit my characters into them,” he said. “I have a bit of an interest in history. If I can teach a little bit of history as we go, that’s a secondary gain.”
The writing he’s doing now is a big change from what Beals wrote during his first career.
“I worked in the mental health field for over 40 years,” he said. “I wrote psychiatric reports and case notes. And I was a probation officer, so I wrote probation reports in Los Angeles County. So, that was my experience in writing. Fiction’s much different.”
Although the writing differs, Beals is still able to draw on his previous experience for his novels.
“I sat for 22 years listening to people, not talking much, but listening in a psycho-therapy office,” he said. “I got a pretty good sense of how people react to all kinds of social and emotional stimulus. So I draw on that very deeply with my characters.”
Beals used an example with one of the characters in his first book who is depressed.
“He’s very depressed after he lost his family, but I never say in there that he’s depressed,” Beals said. “I know what the symptoms of depression are of a 17-year-old and what he goes through.”
After completing his first novel, Beals kept on writing. His second book, “On the High Seas, an Irish Odyssey,” was published late last year. True to form, he is already working on his third book and has plans for a fourth and fifth.
“Hopefully, I have enough life in me to write everything that’s in my head,” Beals said.