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Dystopian fiction set on JBLM

Local officer uses base as his backdrop

Local author, retired Petty Officer 1st Class Kyle D. Pratt, writes full time from his rural Lewis County home. Photo credit: Kyle D. Pratt

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When retired Petty Officer 1st Class Kyle D. Pratt was a child, his family moved to a secluded home in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Although he was a somewhat reluctant reader, with no TV and no radio, he soon turned to books - especially sci-fi books - to fill his free time.  Over the years, his love for science fiction in general, and dystopian science fiction in particular, gave birth to a desire to write in the genre he loved.

"While in the Navy and deployed, I often wrote stories to pass the time," said Pratt. The desire to try his hand at novel writing began to grow; however, Pratt felt he "didn't have the skills to write a good novel."

His wife encouraged him to join a local writers' critique group, and "over the next few years," he said, "these people taught me the skills I needed to write a novel."

After retiring from the Navy in 1999, Pratt chose to pursue teaching as a second career.  Using his VA benefits and the Troops to Teachers program, Pratt completed his teacher training and became certified to teach history, social studies and special education. Upon graduation, however, he discovered that teaching jobs in the South Sound were few and far between. Desperate, he accepted a position with the Lower Kuskokwim School District in Alaska, planning to teach in the Eskimo village of Eek for a year or two. Two years quickly turned into seven.

The seven years spent in Alaska provided Pratt with plenty of time during the long, dark, cold arctic winters to perfect his skills as a writer, and he completed a novella and the first two books of the trilogy Strengthen What Remains.

By 2014, the income from the sales of his books made it possible for him to quit his teaching job and move back to his home in rural Lewis County, where he continues to write full time.

A dystopian chronicle ripped from today's headlines and mostly set on Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Pierce and Thurston counties, Strengthen What Remains follows former chief foreign policy advisor and Army National Guard Maj. Caden Westmore as he fights to save a nation reduced to ruin when strategically placed nuclear bombs decimate several major metropolitan areas from coast to coast.

Why would a retired Naval officer choose to set his novels in Pierce and Thurston counties and especially on JBLM?

"I centered the Strengthen What Remains series in this area because it is my home," explained Pratt. "As a Navy man, I was never stationed at JBLM but flew into there on many MAC (AMC) flights. I've taken classes at the Stone Education Center and have been to Madigan more than once. This whole area is ... easy to write about."

Pratt plans to continue to write as long as he is able.

"I'm grateful for all that I lived and learned while in the military," he said. "It was a good life. But I didn't stop learning and growing when I retired. I've set high goals and strived to reach them, and life just keeps getting better."

Strengthen What Remains is available at or go to

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