More About the Author
Kent Lundgren confesses that he was, at best, an indifferent student in college during the 1960s, lacking clear direction, desires, or goals. But then fortuitous circumstances directed him to El Paso, Texas and the U.S. Border Patrol, and in the American west he found his way of life.
"Had you asked me in college to list fifty occupations that interested me," he says, "law enforcement wouldn't have even shown up on the list. But it turned out that it suited me well for over thirty years. You might say I found a home behind the badge."
Lundgren says he is a westerner to the core and the Border Patrol was his spiritual home but, "The drive of a career took me from El Paso to Miami, Florida as a Border Patrolman. From there I went on to Alaska as an Immigration Inspector working at the Port of Entry on the fabled Alcan Highway. I'd always wanted to see Alaska."
It was quite a change from Miami. "We were miles from anywhere," he says. "The nearest supermarket in those days (mid-1970s) was in Fairbanks, 300 miles north, or Whitehorse in the Yukon, 300 miles the other way - on a gravel road. Shoot, it was 93 miles to first crossroads!" But the isolated existence suited him. "As General Phil Sheridan said of Texas in the 1840s, 'It's great country for a man but it's hell on women and horses!' He had that right!" The time gave him a taste for Robert Service poetry and tall tales.
After Alaska, his career took him to Michigan, Colorado, Washington State, Puerto Rico, and finally back to Washington. During those years he generally chased bad men; when he retired the first time in 1997 he was the Supervisory Special Agent for the Criminal Alien Group in Seattle. After a brief sabbatical he returned to duty as a Deportation Officer for special projects. Among those was trying (with little success, he notes) to get violent criminal aliens returned to difficult countries in Southeast Asia and the Horn of Africa. "The Supreme Court and diplomacy stood squarely in the way of getting those guys back home - where they would no longer be able to hurt Americans. It's a long, sad story."
Along the way he collected what he calls a hat full of stories and anecdotes. Friends told him more than once that he ought to get some of them down on paper. "That sort of recounting of old times didn't appeal to me; it just sounded like a loose collection of tales. But then one day it occurred to me that you can write a good, entertaining story that is true, while not being precisely factual. So I began and over the course of two years or so Tracks in the Sand developed itself. As it says on the cover, 'It didn't all happen just this way - but it could have.' It's a true story but there are only a few good, hard facts in it. The reader will know them when he sees them."
Lundgren is now thoroughly retired in central Washington State. He refers to himself as a Leisure Consultant but admits that the keyboard can be a powerful force and there may be a sequel to Tracks in the Sand.