Burien native Eliot Baker releases debut novel ‘The Last Ancient’
Eliot, a 1995 graduate of Highline High School, also attended Marvista, Sylvester, and briefly Lakeside before that.
“My book, a historical mystery/supernatural suspense tale, takes place on Nantucket Island, where I worked as a reporter for several years,” he told The B-Town Blog. “I currently live in Finland, but still call Burien home, as my dad and many friends still live there.”
Eliot is the youngest of four boys, born and raised in Normandy Park.
His father, Dr. Gordon Baker, has had an allergy clinic on Ambaum Blvd. SW for over 40 years.
Eliot is thrilled with how cool Burien has become over the last 10 years. When in town, he eats gluten-free burgers at Elliott Bay Brew Pub for dinner, and downs five tacos at a time at Taqueria El Riconsito for lunch. He does this every day because, amongst Finland’s many towering social achievements, good burgers and tacos are not amongst them.
“I always knew I would be a writer, even as a wee pudgy lad attending Marvista Elementary school, Lakeside Junior High School and Sylvester Middle School,” he added. “I just wasn’t sure what kind. Not by the time I graduated from Highline High School in 1995. Not even when I graduated from Pitzer College in 1999.”
First, I tried following in the footsteps of my mother, local author Sharon Baker. She published three sci-fi novels before she lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in 1991, when I was fourteen. Despite not knowing what I was doing as a 22-year-old first-time novelist, my 180,000-word behemoth manuscript actually got representation from an agent. Then it floundered. Gasped. Kicked its feet. Died. I was bummed.
So I turned to science. Discarding my novelist aspirations, I went to the Harvard Extension School to get a post-baccalaureate in pre-medical studies. In Boston, I worked as a research assistant at Harvard Medical School, studying brain blood flow in elderly people, as well as sleep deprivation in young and middle aged people, keeping them awake for 86 hours at a time.
Medicine wasn’t for me. Instead, I got my Master’s of Science Journalism from Boston University and loved every second of it. I worked first for the Harvard Health Letters and then landed a dream job as a reporter for the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror.
Nantucket is far more than a mere limerick. The Little Grey Lady of the Sea is one of America’s oldest, most historical towns, an island of exceptional charm and beauty. With a heavy heart I left the island in 2010 to raise a family in Finland, where I’ve since set up a science-and-academic editing business while teaching communication at the local university (and, recently, I’ve started singing for a heavy metal band to combat Finland’s unrelenting winter darkness).
In 2011, I set about fulfilling my lifelong dream of writing and publishing a novel. The days were getting darker and colder, and I missed Nantucket and regular writing binges, so I packed up my laptop and spent long, cold weekends alone typing in a snowy cabin without plumbing in the Finnish wilderness. My most exciting part of the day was lighting the fire in the sauna stove and staring at the placid lake while conjuring up a world of mythological creatures, diabolical conspiracies, and larger-than-life characters battling it out on the island.
All work and no play did not make me a dull boy. It made me an author. I wrote my first two drafts over nine months, came back home to Burien, and attended the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Conference at the Sheraton on International Blvd. There, I pitched “The Last Ancient” to J. Ellen Smith, publisher of Champagne Books. And now here we are: On Dec. 2nd, “The Last Ancient” will be released digitally via Amazon.com, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and via the Champagne Books website, champagnebooks.com. The print run will come soon after, hopefully by January. Book tours will follow. I hereby promise that anyone who attends a Burien book signing, or who can verify your B-Town cred at a Seattle signing, will get an especially awesome inscription.
And here’s a synopsis of the book:
The Last Ancient, by Eliot Baker
Pulitzer-nominated reporter, Simon Stephenson knows he must write the story. Billions of lives and dollars are at stake. Maybe he should even kill the mythological creature hunting on Nantucket. That’s what a mysterious French chemist and Simon’s best friend, a charming Greek hit man, tell him.
Trouble is, he’s falling in love with the creature. And She doesn’t want him to write the story. She wants something else. Something only he can give.
He needs to put it all together. The ancient coins are the key. Someone or something is leaving them at deer mutilations and murder scenes around the island. Looking in places he’d never imagined possible, Simon confronts a diabolical conspiracy woven into his family’s darkest secrets.
Meanwhile, his tennis-champion fiancée is going Defcon One bridezilla, and a gorgeous TV reporter has her own intentions. Battling panic attacks and pursued by a host of nasty characters – some natural, others less so – Simon faces a world where no one is what they seem. Especially not himself.