Local writer publishes first book


Jeanette Brown, Special to the KP News

Colleen Slater with a display about her book at the Livable Community Fair in May. Photo by Mindi LaRose

Local writer Colleen Slater is well known to many residents of the Key and Gig Harbor peninsulas for her contributions as a journalist for both the Key Peninsula News and the Peninsula Gateway. Now she is about to become even more “famous on the KP” as the author of a new book titled “The Key Peninsula.” The book, primarily a pictorial history of the Key Peninsula, will be published by the Arcadia Publishing Co. as part of its “Images of America” series. Slater’s book is scheduled to be released for sale in June at local bookstores, museums and gift shops.

Slater is also a member of the Gig Harbor Writers Circle, Key Peninsula Writer’s Guild, Peninsula Writers Association, Key Singers, and the Vaughn Bay Garden Club. This multitasking mother of four adult children and 15 grandchildren started submitting her articles in earnest in 1989, with the first “sale” to Housewife Writers Forum. She was first paid in copies, then stamps, and finally, in minimal cash. Slater has also had poetry, essays, and short fiction published in various publications over the years.

Slater attended Peninsula High School and then Washington State College, now known as Washington State University. She graduated with a master’s degree “in the art of teaching.” Over the years, she has traveled through Europe with her family and published those experiences in journalistic accounts. She also does her own genealogical research. In the near future, Slater hopes to publish more volumes of work on the Key Peninsula pioneer history.

When asked what her inspiration for writing the book was, Slater responded, “I had been interviewing descendants of early pioneers for my regular column in the Key Peninsula News for about three years, and decided to compile those stories into a pictorial account of the area’s history using photographs that had not been previously published.”

Slater believes that “picture images tend to last longer than printed words.” She also feels her book “is a good way to share with future generations how the people of the past made this special place what it is today.”

To aspiring authors and historians who want to know what Slater thinks would be the most helpful to them in their studies and careers as writers, Slater’s advice is simple:  “Keep your eyes and ears open, and take notes. Everyone has a story to tell, and often, they know others with stories, too.”

As an educator and historian, Slater has a lot more stories to tell, and believes her book will bring new insights to the area’s local history; she also encourages interested visitors and residents to visit the Key Peninsula Historical Society Museum at the KP Civic Center in Vaughn, where they will find various historical artifacts and collections, including some first-person stories of early pioneers.