LEICESTER, Mass. — Cherry Valley resident Mark Lowery was always a writer at heart, scribbling poems and stories while he worked in a lumber yard, in submarines in the Navy, and later as an attorney.
But it wasn't until his life was changed by a series of strokes and end-stage renal failure that he began writing what would become his first published book: "Magic Time, Time is Magical."
In the book, Lowery tells the story of seven-year-old Jimmy Kerrinan, whose relentless curiosity tends to get him into mischief. Yet the young boy's inquisitive nature and quest to discover "the most magical thing of all" sends him on a spirited adventure with the wily and mysterious circus magician who may hold the answer, The Great Polman.
"There's a lot of me in the book," said Lowery, who explained that Jimmy's questions were a lot like his own when he was a child. "It's one of my periodic re-evaluations of my life."
Following a stroke in November 2011, Lowery has been in dialysis for renal failure, with treatment pulling him from his work as an attorney at his firm, Phalan and Lowery, P.C.
Looking for something to do with his time, Lowery delved into telling Jimmy's story, and completed and published his first major work.
"I was pretty amazed, after hearing horror stories of years of rejection," said Lowery, who published "Magic Time, Time Is Magical," with PublishAmerica.
Lowery soon followed up by having his second novel, a story of political intrigue, picked up by another publisher.
And in July, one of his poems was selected as a semi-finalist in a worldwide contest, and subsequently published in a compendium of poems, "Stars in Our Hearts" by the World Poetry Movement.
Although he looks fondly at his varied experiences in life, Lowery said he realized people tend to "get set in their ways of doing things." And with the magic of having time suddenly before him, he set forth on exploring a new adventure as a writer.
"It's a great sense of accomplishment," he said. "There's a level of personal satisfaction in doing what you really want to do in life."