- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 12, 2001

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — Inspired by boredom, Arthur LaVigne of Allegany Energy has become A.H. LaVigne the novelist.The Hagerstown resident says he had nothing better to do in his spare time, so he sat down at his home computer to craft a witty story about a dull, coffee-obsessed chap who falls "neck-deep" into an intriguing world of spies, conspiracies and aliens.
"The Incredibly Boring Life of Peter Black" was published recently by Sweetgrass Press of New Hampshire.
The 204-page novel is available at major chains, including Borders and Barnes & Noble, and on the Internet megaretailer Amazon.com.
Mr. LaVigne, 37, a computer specialist at Allegany Energy and a professional square-dance caller, had no previous writing experience. He says he still cannot believe he wrote a book — or that it was good enough to get published and widely distributed.
"I never planned to be an author. I was just bored to tears and started writing," Mr. LaVigne says.
"I feel Im just a storyteller, and I told my story. I dont consider myself a word artist. Im not even a big reader. I wrote this book for myself. I had no inkling of getting it published."
Nevertheless, Mr. LaVigne knew he had an active imagination, which he mined to weave his science-fiction comedy.
He says he wanted to develop a main character who could grow and change as the plot of the book progressed, so he invented a predictable man who had nowhere to go but up.
Computer analyst Peter Black wanted little more from life than a good cup of coffee.
"Change wasnt safe. Peter liked being safe even if he hated it," Mr. LaVigne wrote.
Through a humorous series of twists and turns, Blacks life becomes entangled with that of his supersuave alter ego, Blake Rock. The intertwining of characters leads to some strange events involving secret agents, extraterrestrials and — a coffee maker?
The author wont elaborate.
"Youll have to read the book," he says.
Mr. LaVigne never experienced writers block. The words "just seemed to flow" from his imagination to his fingertips, he says.
"The book wrote itself in a sense. It had a life of its own," he says. "The characters began speaking by themselves. I would be typing, and I would literally be anxious to see what was going to happen next. It would surprise me."
Mr. LaVigne found himself stumped, though, when he tried to come up with an exciting, unexpected ending. He says inspiration struck when he was lying in bed before work.
"It just popped into my head, and I started laughing. I got an ending that no one would expect," Mr. LaVigne says. "I still smile when I read it."
The books conclusion leaves the door open for a sequel, which Mr. LaVigne is writing.
Though Mr. LaVigne and his "coffee achiever" protagonist share a profession and a love of Colombian beans, he says thats where the similarities end.
Like Peter Black, though, Mr. LaVigne stumbled into an adventure that has changed his outlook on life.
He explored the unfamiliar territory of proper diction and punctuation, experienced the torment of criticism and the triumph of praise and persevered on his virgin artistic journey to create a work that will outlive him.
"Ive learned that a person can do more than they ever expected they could do if they put their mind to it," Mr. LaVigne says. "When Im gone, there will still be copies of this book around. Its an incredible feeling."

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