New author writes about bank life

Oak Harbor author Jo Lord displays her first book. - Jim Larsen/Whidbey News-Times
Oak Harbor author Jo Lord displays her first book.
— image credit: Jim Larsen/Whidbey News-Times

A new author is born in Oak Harbor, and her life-based story appeals to an unusual market segment: Those interested in or working in the banking business.

Jo Lord has lived in Oak Harbor for 25 years and her banking career spans even beyond that.

Describing her book, “A Look Behind the Vault Door,” Lord said it’s the story of “a young girl going through the banking world.” The similarity to the author is obvious, but Lord said it’s not strictly biographical. Instead, she uses “things I saw in the banking business” as a resource, and tracks the heroine from the old days when banking was a friendlier business, to modern times when pressure to sell, sell, sell is intense.

Lord clearly has a soft spot in her heart for the days when banks were locally owned and operated in a friendly way, for the workers as well as the customers. “It was a better climate for the banking industry,” she said. “Now all banks care about is the bottom line, not the employees who work for them.”

While not a great work of literature, “A Look Behind the Vault Door” does allow one person to tell her story, and as such its 150 pages provide a quick way to get a feel for the banking industry and its people.

To get the book in print, Lord first tried hiring an agent but that didn’t work out. “All they want is your money,” she said.

Then she went to a company called Publish America, which guides aspiring authors through the process, helps edit the product, and prints copies on demand. With today’s technology, it’s possible to turn out just a few copies as orders come in. The publisher, of course, takes a large percentage of the $19.95 sale price, but it’s a way to get a book in print affordably.

“It’s fabulous,” Lord said. “It doesn’t cost you anything.” It’s up to the author to market the book with advice from the publisher, and there are some real success stories in the industry.

Lord plans to drop off copies of her original printing at Wind & Tide Bookshop in downtown Oak Harbor or visit

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