Local author Chris Skates writes his way to Washington

Local author Chris Skates writes his way to Washington

How did one Paducah man manage to eat breakfast in Washington, D.C., with a Harvard trained astrophysicist and a moon-walking astronaut? Simple, he wrote a political thriller involving one of the hottest topics in the environmental movement—climate change.


Chris Skates, a power plant chemistry supervisor at Paducah’s AEI, began writing after the passing of his grandfather. He wanted to pay tribute to his beloved grandparent, and he did so by writing a short story. After passing out the tale to his family and seeing their delight at his penned words, he decided to try and get his work published. After two attempts the story was published in a national magazine.


Since that first public appearance of his work, Skates has written many short stories, articles, and even a few novels. His last book, Going Green, got him a seat at the 2011 International Climate Change Conference hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C., which is where he met the two acclaimed scientists.


>>> Read an excerpt from Going Green here. 


“It’s kind of cool for them to have something about climate change show up in a novel,” he said about the people at the conference. “I think they kind of got a kick out of it.”


While there, Skates sold and signed a few books, but he mostly listened and talked with other people about the problems and inconsistencies with climate change.


Skates isn’t skeptical of just climate change, he takes issue with how coal and industry in general are portrayed by the media. He said that big industry isn’t always the bad guy and that the industrial complex, often pinned for polluting the environment, is made up of many individual people who actually care very much about the natural world. He particularly sees this play out in his own workplace.


“We’ve got so much industry here in this area . . . and {the negativity often seen publicly} is not the face of industry I see every day,” he said. “I see outdoorsmen. They don’t want to hurt nature. They view their work as providing a valuable service that makes our communities run.” 


While Going Green delves into environmental and political issues, Skates writes about many other topics. His first novel titled Rain was a retelling of the story of Noah’s ark, and his upcoming book is about a revenue officer chasing moonshiners in the 1940s. That story is actually based on the life of his grandfather, the same one who inspired his writing in the first place. 



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