A local author has penned four books in a series for young adults — but it’s OK if older adults read the books too, he said.
Terrance Buhr, who has lived in Tooele County for almost 20 years, began writing about 10 years ago. His “Under” series is being read in classrooms in Utah.
“I’ve been telling stories for a long, long time,” he said. “If you give me a subject, I can write a story about it. I have that talent.”
He also wanted to leave a legacy for family members who came after him.
“This all started because I don’t know anything about my great-grandfather; I knew nothing about him,” Buhr explained. “I have no stories about my great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather, so I thought that I needed to leave something for my grandkids, great-grandkids, and my great-great grandkids.”
During the writing process, Buhr struggled with spelling.
“My spelling is horrendous,” he joked. “I don’t know that I did well in any type of English class in school.”
Although Buhr struggled with his spelling, Buhr said he enjoyed twisting the storyline together.
“I can plant seeds here that will be answered on pages later, which is hard to do sometimes when you’re writing,” Buhr explained. “With writing, I can see it in my mind and write it down well.”
Several years before actually publishing his books, Buhr gave a copy of his books to his friend George Robison, a now retired sixth-grade teacher at Settlement Canyon Elementary to read to his students.
Robison, who read the books’ manuscripts to his class each year, said the “Under” series are some of his favorite books. His students really enjoyed reading them, he said.
“This is my favorite book, besides the Scriptures hands down,” Robison said. “When I read this to my class, and I read this to a new class each year, every time without exception when I ran out of time, you would not believe the yells, and screams, and sadness. They wanted me to go on, but we had to wait until the next day…They could not get enough of this book and I couldn’t get enough of it…When I read this, I knew this had to become a movie someday.”
Each year, Buhr would also visit Robison’s classroom to talk about his books and read parts to the students.
“I took the opportunity to talk to the students about writing, but especially reading, because reading is so important for life,” Buhr said. “If you cannot read, you literally can’t do anything.”
This year, three sixth-grade classes in the Tooele County School District are reading Buhr’s series, along with one fifth-grade class in Taylorsville.
“I will be going to talk to their classes this year,” Buhr said.
Buhr was able to publish his books a few years after Robison began reading them to his class.
He submitted one book to his publisher, but his publisher recommended separating the book into three books that would be released consecutively.
The first book came out in March and the fourth book in the series came out around July.
The “Under” series follows a 13-year-old boy named Cob who lives in an underground compound of 1,000 people who have been living there for over 320 years.
“They really don’t know much about the surface,” Buhr explained about the people in his book series. “They just live to play games; that’s really all they live for.”
The individuals living in the compound are afraid of knowledge and only have an elementary education at best, according to Buhr.
In the first book, Cob finds a journal written by a relative over 200 years prior.
“In the journal, he tells about when they went down underground,” Buhr said. “He was one of the first to go down. He said that knowledge was the reason they had to go underground, because knowledge was the reason there were nuclear wars and all these things. This group — that first went down — ended up destroying most of the computers and books.”
Along with the journal, Cob also finds a computer, which allows him to gain knowledge contrary to what those in the compound believe.
Challenging his friends and family’s knowledge creates many enemies for Cob.
The story continues in book two with more issues to solve and more lessons to learn.
“There are ministers in the compound who make up the rules,” Buhr said, explaining a problem in the story. “People think that the minister speaks for the provider and they pray to the provider.”
In book three Cob shares knowledge with his friend. In the fourth book Cob decides to bring his family and friends up to the surface.
“Most people love the book and they love that there’s no bad language at all. It is one that a mother could give to her kids and not be embarrassed about what they had given their kids to read,” Buhr said.
With four books of the “Under” series under his belt, Buhr is working on three more books to complete the series.
The book is created for those 11 or 12-years-old up to 100, according to Buhr.
The artwork on the front cover of each book in the series was created by a 16-year-old family member. The artwork on the back covers was created by Buhr’s 10-year-old grandson.
As a child, Buhr grew up with his mother and four siblings in Durango, Colorado. He has a degree in both land management and soil biology and industrial water treatment.
Years ago, Buhr was hired by the Department of Defense to go to Iraq to solve water problems they were having.
“I was there for 22 months fixing problems that the military and contractors were having cleaning up the water there,” he said.
Married for 41 years, Buhr loves being a father to four and grandfather to 17. He loves the mountains and gardening.
Buhr also makes his own soap, teaches classes on soap making and creates black powder for his cannon that youth groups shoot.
Buhr can fix anything that is broken.
“I’m asked all the time to come fix things that are broken,” he said. “I’ve gone all the way to Oklahoma and Colorado to do special jobs related to remodeling and building.”
Although Buhr is retired now, he still writes his books, helps people with remodel jobs, and volunteers at the Tooele County Jail.
“We can accomplish anything that we set our minds to,” Buhr said. “There’s lots of potential to become something more than what we are.”
Teachers interested in reading the series to their class should email email@example.com. Buhr’s books can be purchased on Amazon.