The past five years for Steve Foley has included darkness, depression, yet victory and happiness, resolve that led to writing a book about Newport Beach.
At times, Foley admitted, the words flowed, and faded, came back and surpassed more than what was needed. But in the end, Foley completed a tale definitely worth the read – "West Newport Blues" – especially for those who live in Newport Beach.
Foley, a former Newport Harbor High football and track and field standout, says the book is for those from any town. But those in Newport Beach can draw a deeper connection, as many of the places and characters are well-known to the Newport community.
Even, the Daily Pilot newspaper is referenced in the book.
West Newport Blues is about two best friends, Bobby Rowels and Scotty Curtis, who grow up in a trailer park in West Newport Beach.
The book is about love and friendship, as well as a coming of age for Scotty, a character loosely based on Foley. "West Newport Blues" is also about surfing, and teenagers "running amok," in Newport Beach in the 1970s.
"The story kept evolving," Foley said of the process to write "West Newport Blues." "My mother died and I felt like I lost a year there. I went into depression after she died."
I met with Foley, 55, five months ago for breakfast at Cappy's Café, where he used to work as a teenager growing up in Newport Beach.
I asked Foley what it took to get out of depression.
"When I went back to the pen," he said. "Writing helped me get out of it."
The fictional book contains plenty of emotions, and Foley experienced a great deal of them during the past five years.
The Bobby character was written in honor of a friend he met at Orange Coast College who died of cancer. The Bobby character plays football at Newport Harbor High, where the coach is dating Bobby's mother.
"When I wrote the book I was writing about Bobby and thinking about Bobby," Foley said. "And suddenly all of the ghosts that lived around me in Newport, Bucko Shaw, Steve Richardson and Vinnie Mulroy, and others, I felt like they were speaking to me."
Foley wrote several people he grew up with into the book as characters, including the late Bob Hailey, the former NHHS track and field coach.
Mulroy, who died in 2009 and that death also greatly affected Foley within the past five years, also plays a role for the sales of the book.
Foley says he doesn't write for the money. He writes for the love of writing.
He has dedicated a big batch of first edition books to the Vince Mulroy Scholarship and John Gust Scholarship funds.
John Gust, who was also a football standout at Newport Harbor, died in a car accident before he had an opportunity to play football at Washington State.
Foley is selling the first edition books, which are signed by him, for $125 and splitting that money to go to each scholarship fund.
He says he also made an effort to send a book to a family member of each of the people he wrote into the book as characters.