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By SCOTT BOWLEN
Daily News Staff Writer
After eight years of research and writing, Mike Harpold has completed his first novel: "Jumping the Line."
Harpold, who served in the U.S. Border Patrol, tells his story of migrant farm labor amid the economic and legal conditions that drove immigration — lawful and otherwise — from Mexico into the United States during the mid-1960s through his primary characters Miguel Hernandez-Ochoa, an illegal immigrant, and Javier Romero, the Mexican-American son of a U.S.-born farm worker.
Their lives touch upon those of other characters — a farm owner, Border Patrol agent, human smuggler, etc., — that Harpold portrays in an equally realistic manner drawn from his long experience in the agricultural areas of California.
Harpold now is well-known in the Ketchikan area, where he has served on the Ketchikan City Council and the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School Board.
He began work on "Jumping the Line" eight years ago, wanting to tell the story of farm labor, immigration and immigrants."
Harpold initially wanted to do the project as non-fiction, but "I just wasn’t getting the whole thing the way I wanted to,"
He switched to a fictional approach, creating composite characters to build the story.
Harpold took three trips down south to refresh his memory during the process.
Along the way, several Ketchikan residents were involved in reading, editing and other aspects of the book. Those included Ketchikan artist Dave Rubin, who did the cover art, and Leila Kheiry, who edited the book and provided its title.
Harpold has received the first shipment of "Jumping the Line," which will be available from independent bookstores and major online retailers.
He’ll be giving a reading from "Jumping the Line" at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Ketchikan Public Library.