An aptitude test he took in eighth grade gave Nathaniel Gee his first inkling that a career as an author might be something he would be interested in.
Yet, when talking to the counselor who administered the test, he said he was thinking about becoming an engineer because his father was an engineer.
“They said that would be OK, but if I had said I wanted to be a writer then I would have problems,” Gee said.
Fortunately, that didn’t dissuade him from trying his hand at writing.
After developing a love for art, he began incorporating writing into his job as an engineer, penning a blog and writing an opinion column for the Boulder City Review. Most recently, Gee saw his first book, “The Business Proposal,” published.
The story is about a marriage counselor who, after a series of bad reviews, realizes his clients would consider his advice more valid if he was married. So, via a newspaper ad, he proposes an arrangement for a marriage — in name only and complete with a monthly stipend — and finds a woman who is tired of fending off advances from co-workers, avoiding setups from friends and finding excuses to tell her parents about her nonexistent love life.
Naturally, complications arise when the two are forced to spend time together and start developing feelings for each other.
Gee calls the story a comedic romance and will sign copies of his book during a special event from 2-6 p.m. July 19 at the Dam Roast House &Browder Bookstore.
Gee, who lived in Boulder City from 2009 until August of last year, began working on “The Business Proposal” sometime around 2006. He said his wife, Jeanine, helped him with an outline and he worked on the book in his spare time.
His previous job with the Bureau of Reclamation required him to travel a bit, so he would spend his off hours writing.
With his new job at the Tennessee Valley Authority and eight children, Gee said, “I don’t find as much time as I would like. This is why it takes years and years.”
He credits his wife with bringing the humor in the story out.
“Almost everyone who reads it says it made them laugh,” Gee said.
It also has some very serious overtones, including a long overdue heart-to-heart conversation between the marriage counselor and his father.
“I remember crying when I wrote that scene,” he said.
He also cites the book’s sincerity regarding the importance of families.
He said his older children listened to the book during family reading sessions and “got engaged” with it. It also inspired one of his sons and one of his daughters to begin writing themselves.
Gee said he is an avid reader and was inspired by many authors, including P.G. Wodehouse, whose work made him laugh out loud.
“He inspired me the most. He made me laugh on every page.”
Gee said it was his intention to write with a similar type of humor.
“I would like to create this type of joy in other people’s lives,” he said.
Gee called the publishing process much less romantic and grueling than he envisioned. Once it was accepted by a publisher, he was given a few suggestions for some revisions.
“I had always envisioned sitting in a coffee shop with an editor debating over individual words,” he said. “There was a lot less rewriting than I thought it would be.”
With his first book published, Gee is now devoting time to his second book. He said it also will be a comedic romance, but a bit more historical. The story line will follow a priest in the 1550s who falls in love with a pig farmer’s daughter. This happens around the same time there are changes in the church and the priest goes from someone who cannot be married to the most eligible bachelor in town.
Copies of “The Business Proposal” will be available at Gee’s book signing event or on Amazon.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at email@example.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.