By Jim Workman, State Journal, WV
April 8th, 2016
For more than 30 years, Ky Owen said he “didn’t think I had a book in me.”
But the former journalism major, currently a Charleston lawyer, has finally published a personal tome, “None Call Me Dad.”
Lawyer turned author – it may not be such a far-flung conception, reasoned Jens Kiel.
“It worked for John Grisham, right?” said Kiel, president of the Charleston marketing firm Made in Germany.
Kiel is assisting Owen, a friend of more than seven years, in promoting the book.
Owen is a partner with Goodwin & Goodwin LLP in Charleston. He holds a B.A. in journalism from Michigan State University and a J.D. from Hamline University.
But it was when Owen and his wife Tammy became adoptive parents with just two weeks’ notice and he eventually became a father to five others that his creative juices were jumpstarted. He began documenting his many tales.
“None Call Me Dad” is described as “a journey that turns into a virtual roller coaster ride of parenting an ever-changing alternative family, and kids finding their way on their own terms.”
More Than Titles
Holding the title of “dad” doesn’t matter as much as carrying out the responsibilities of a father, Owen said.
“People used to say we were angels (for being adoptive parents},” Owen said. “But we were never in it for recognition or the title.
“None call me dad, but they know that’s who I am,” Owen added. “That’s what counts.”
With step-parenting more prevalent in the current generation than ever before, Owen said he hopes the book can help others.
“It’s a good story, but it can also help people in a couple of ways,” he said. “It can help fathers that feel the tension between a biological parent and a step-parent.
“You can’t get hung up on titles. It can help you see that you can do it. We went through some hard times but got through it.”
Owen said he thought the book also could help anyone considering a foster or adoptive situation.
He said the book also could serve as motivation for adults to get more involved in young people’s lives.
“Mentoring is important,” he said.
“You can make a difference, even if you can just move the needle a little bit for a kid.
“You can’t turn a kid around overnight, but you can give them a positive influence.”
Owen said his experience as a lawyer helped prepare him for parenthood.
“I often found myself doing a lot of mediation,” he said. “Especially when a child turns 18 and they’re (legally) free to go. You don’t want everything to break down. You find a compromise.”
Owen also is enjoying his time as a new author. More than 100 people showed up for his book release, a February 2016 author’s signing at Taylor Books in Charleston.
”It’s a fantastic feeling, actually holding the book in your hands,” Owen said.
Sharing his experiences has been cathartic, he said, because the book allows readers to go along with Owen on father-son trips to March Madness and the Rose Bowl, and father-daughter weekends on Broadway in Nashville and the French Quarter of New Orleans.
”It’s a book for people that do not like to read and for people that love to read ,” said Kiel. ”Once you start reading it, you don’t want to put it aside.”
Owen has been interacting with readers on the book’s social media page at www.facebook.com/nonecallmedad and its website www.nonecallmedad.com
”The community has become part of (the book),” said Kiel. ”The dialogue is ongoing. It gives Ky the opportunity to respond to questions about the stories in it.”
“And there are more memories being made as we speak. It may spawn another book in the future.”