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Bakersfield native brings debut novel to Brewery and Books tour

When Bakersfield native and author Vince Wetzel was thinking of how to take his debut novel, "Friends in Low Places," on the road, he thought of his characters.

The story about a group of childhood friends making their annual trip to Huntington Lake, which they've done for nearly 20 years, seemed a great match for discussion in a brewery, so Wetzel planned his Brewery and Books tour with an upcoming stop at Lengthwise Brewery at The Marketplace.

The Foothill High grad who now calls West Sacramento home is hitting a few breweries this summer to promote his book that he said was inspired by summer camping trips to Huntington Lake he spent with friends in his 20s and 30s.

In the novel, the men gathering for their lake trip are missing their organizer, Jim, who has passed away, but they bring his ashes and his ratty notebook chronicling their previous adventures. Over their last weekend together, they work to accept their grief as they read Jim’s journal and, through his uncensored eyes, relive their life moments, revelations and regrets.

Wetzel lives in West Sacramento with his wife and two children. He began his career as a sportswriter for the Antelope Valley Press and the Oakland Tribune. He’s also had op-eds published in the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco Chronicle and L.A. Times. Currently, he works as a government affairs coordinator for a major property/casualty insurer.

Although he has lived in Northern California for almost 20 years, Wetzel still has strong local ties, visiting family and friends in the area, which made the local book signing a good fit for his tour.  

"There was no doubt I wanted to come back to my hometown to promote this book," Wetzel said in a news release. "This book inspires you to reach out and contact the buddies who know you best. Coming out of this pandemic, we need those relationships more than ever."

This will be the second stop on the tour, after Bike Dog Brewery in West Sacramento in May. Wetzel is working on another near Pomona in July, a Bay Area stop in August and one later in Fresno.

Wetzel will be at Lengthwise Brewery at The Marketplace (9000 Ming Ave.) from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday.

For more information on Wetzel and his work, visit vincewetzel.weebly.com.