We want to tell you all about the many adventures of David Gelly, but we’re not quite sure where to begin.

The Lewiston native, now living in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, has lived a life of intrigue, spending the bulk of his career providing corporate security services to familiar groups such as the IRS and food giants Sarah Lee and General Mills.

To round out that part of his professional life, Gelly ran North American security for Syngenta, generally regarded as the Swiss equivalent of Monsanto.

A marathon runner and world traveler, Gelly parlayed his experience in the shadowy world of corporate security into a trio of novels, “Fancy Gap,” “Orchard Gap” and “Volunteer Gap,” each set in an area of the Blue Ridge Mountains where Gelly and his wife have a cabin retreat.

Instead of slowing down after retiring at 70, Gelly maintains a writing schedule that authors half his age would envy. We caught up with him recently and asked about his career in security, the transition to writing novels and the charms of Fancy Gap, Virginia.

How did you morph from security expert to novelist? Since I retired from corporate life four years ago, I’m enjoying the passion of the written word, of writing novels. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do. I wrote a lot of short stories in my travels around the world. . . . I’d write articles about me running in China, about me running in Jamaica. For our newsletter – we have a running club here in Winston-Salem about 700 strong – I wrote a lot of short stories and essays and travel logs. But I always wanted to write a novel. So four years ago I said, time to stop thinking about it and do it. So I did. I just started writing and writing and writing, and finally after long hours of work, the first novel was published, and it was well received. . . . Now I’m a novelist. I’m happy about that. It’s entertainment and people love it.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Back then, I was just not one to do a whole lot of writing. I mean, I’d get by all right, but I didn’t have the passion at that point in time. It was just something I picked up later in life.

When I got a little older and went to high school, I looked up to the Maine State troopers. And I thought, I want to be a trooper someday. That would be kind of cool. Then I graduated. One of the first jobs I had was installing the very first cable TV systems in Lewiston. Then I thought, I want to see the world. I was in the Army from 1967 to ’70.

Then I came back. My wife, Helen, and I married in ’70. She was an X-ray tech at St. Mary’s, but then we moved to Boston. We both went to Mass General. I worked as a security officer for the hospital and I went to Northeastern (University) at night for five years to get my undergraduate degree in security administration. . . . After I graduated from Northeastern in 1975, the IRS recruited me to go up to their big computer center – you know, where you sent your tax forms in Andover, Massachusetts? I was hired as a security manager there for a year and a half. Then the IRS national office said “David, we’d love to have you in Washington, D.C.” I was with them for about five years, in a security function for the IRS, protecting tax information.

I thought, this government stuff is not for me, not for the rest of my life. Then General Mills — (the company behind) Betty Crocker, Wheaties and Cheerios – recruited me to go to Minneapolis to be their No. 2 person in their corporate security department. We moved to Minnesota and just loved it. We were there for five wonderful years.

Do you draw on your career experiences when writing your novels? In corporate security I saw a lot of interesting things, as you can well imagine with these big companies. A lot of bad actors within the company, a lot of people hacking the corporations. So it gave me a lot of insights into all forms of human nature, and I use that in writing my novels. It really has come in handy in that regard.

So, Fancy Gap is a real place? Along Blue Ridge Parkway there are these little gap villages. The gap is the top and it goes down the mountain over these gap roads, and there’re villages. There’s Fancy Gap, Orchard Gap and Volunteer Gap. These are very small areas, but people live there. That’s what I used as my settings for the first three novels and it certainly will be for the fourth. But I take my readers all over the U.S. In the second one, which centers on genetically modified crops and the dangers thereof, I take the readers to Pakistan, to Hawaii, to Kauai – why would I take my readers to the island of Kauai, where they filmed “Jurassic Park?” Well, people don’t realize that the major agricultural companies do their genetically modified crop research on the island of Kauai. How do I know that? Because I used to go there. Hawaii is still basically an agricultural state. My readers really enjoy the side trips I take them on. They get to learn about geography in different parts of the world.

What is your writing process like? It goes by seasons, I guess. In the wintertime, when it’s 45 or 50 degrees, I don’t want to ride my bike at 9 in the morning. So after breakfast I’ll come up to my working area in the townhouse and write for two or three hours at least, and then I’ll go out and exercise. I’ll get my mountain bike out and I’ll ride for an hour, hour and a half. I reverse that in the summertime: After breakfast, I’ll go out to the big lake or to the big park we have here and I’ll ride for an hour or an hour and a half. When it warms up, I’ll come back to the townhouse and write. On weekends, when I’m at Fancy Gap, once the endorphins are flowing and I get the juices going, I’ll write two, three, four or sometimes five thousand words. Some days I’ll think, maybe I’ll have a glass of wine and write a little bit more. And I do. . . . The best part about it is that I’m really enjoying it. I really have fun with it.

Author David Gelly outside The Blue Goose in Lewiston.

Author David Gelly outside The Blue Goose in Lewiston.

Author David Gelly

Author David Gelly

Author David Gelly

Author David Gelly

Author David Gelly

Author David Gelly

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