Njord James Kane, born James Joseph Kane in Celina, Ohio in 1968, was the third child of James and Sarah Kane. When he was seven, he and his sisters were told their father died in Vietnam when his parents separated. They lived in Washington until moving to Florida where his mother fell ill. He and his sisters were flown to Oklahoma to live with their father, who they learned was still alive when they arrived. It was during this time Njord also learned about a third, older sister institutionalized with down syndrome. A live-in nanny cared for them until two years later when he and his two sisters were flown to Washington to be reunited with their mother.
His older later sister left to live with their father in Oklahoma who was now retired from the Air Force. Njord and his younger sister were sent to Italy to stay with their grandparents during the summer. When the summer ended they were sent back to their mother, but to their surprise were flown to Oklahoma instead of Washington. His sisters stayed with his mother and Njord was sent to live with his father who remarried. It was during this time that Njord’s appendix ruptured, causing him to die twice on the operating table and fall into a coma. Two days later he woke to his mother calling his name and began the painful journey of draining the infection that spread through his body. When he recovered enough, he was sent back to live with his father where the abuse steadily intensified until Njord fled to the streets.
A year later his mother located him and sent him to Washington to live with his grandparents who now owned a used book store in Lynnwood, Washington. He helped in the shop while attending computer programming classes. At Lynnwood High School he excelled in graphic arts. When his mother arrived in Washington with his younger sister, they moved to Everett where he was arrested for trespassing while crossing through the school’s fenced off property after hours. The charges were later dropped but his mother requested he be held three months for delinquency. They incarcerated him at the Charles R Denney Youth Center where he accidentally spent his first three days in darkness and isolation when he was temporarily placed in a cell during shift change and forgotten. The cell’s light didn’t work and he wasn’t discovered until maintenance arrived after the weekend to repair the lighting. Three weeks after an investigation, he was released early on his fifteenth birthday and flown to Oklahoma to live with his father.
His father became increasingly violent until one night he came home drunk and pistol whipped him. Once again Njord found himself on the streets until he enlisted in the Army by blackmailing his mother into signing the papers to allow his enlistment. Ten days after his seventeenth birthday he shipped out to become an infantryman at Harmony Church Ft Benning, Georgia. He served his enlistment in Charlie Company, 1/16th Infantry Regiment. After the Army, he was sent back to Oklahoma where he stayed in a hotel until his final pay ran out. He took the last of his money and bought a bus ticket to work in Mosier, Oregon where his aunt and uncle owned a cherry orchard. While working there he went to school to become an EMT and reenlisted into an Army National Guard cavalry unit as infantry-assigned.
He later moved to Indiana to help his older sister with her three children, but arrived into a situation of drug abuse and instability. Unable to help, Njord left disillusioned and entered the Benedictine community at St Meinrad, Indiana where he studied to receive vows while also learning to make leather shoes and run an offset printing press. Not finding what he sought, he left the Abbey the following year and enrolled in truck driving school at Monroe, Ohio. It was while truck driving he met Miranda Walker and decided he wanted to do better with his life and enrolled at Ball State University where he became fascinated with social psychology and cultural anthropology while he pursued an Army commission. It was also during this time Njord entered law enforcement, working as he studied.
He and Miranda married in January of 1996 and in February of 1997 they had their first child. His daughter was born in December 1998 and the following Spring they moved back to Oklahoma to start a new life.
On May 3rd 1999, a record tornado hit and there wasn’t a shelter where they were staying and Njord scrambled his growing family to a local public school for shelter. Unfortunately people packed the stairs leading into the basement, so he quickly herded his pregnant wife, their six month old daughter, and their 18 month old son into the school’s bathroom where he huddled them in the far corner and shielded them with his body. He remarked that his wrist watch stopped when the tornado passed over. They returned to Indiana the following Spring after their son Zachary was born.
In 2003 they returned to Oklahoma in search of help for their sons who were autistic, the eldest being nonverbal, after Indiana schools shut down services. The result turned out disastrous and they became isolated falling through the cracks as they home-schooled their children.
In 2008, Njord opened an Arts and Craft shop but didn’t survive the first year and went under. Months later his mother died of cancer at the age of 66. Njord became withdrawn and immersed himself oil painting. Within a nine month period, he painted an estimated 410 to 430 Nordic and Celtic folklore landscape scenes on canvas. As abruptly as he started painting, he stopped and never painted again. Most of his paintings were sold locally, but there’s an estimated 80-90 of them which were stolen. A limited number of these paintings can be viewed <here>.
In Spring of 2013, he published The Maya: The Story of a People. Two months later, on May 31st, 2013, a tornado irreparably damaged their home in El Reno and the Kanes moved back to Indiana where Njord hastily self-published Darkness Reaching, an unedited novel he wrote at age 15, to help finance their move. After a few months, the title was pulled and republished as Concealed in the Darkness, which later became A Wallflower’s Whisper.
By winter, he completed and published The Vikings: The Story of a People before moving back to Oklahoma in the Spring of 2014 due to lack of employment in Indiana. The Vikings: The Story of a People was later republished as a second edition with a black and white interior to reduce the price. In 2016, Njord released The Thrall, a first book in a planned series, but low sales led to the series being dropped and the second installment never being published. He re-wrote the story and published it complete as The Hidden Hollow as a stand-alone novel, with it’s sequel currently being written.
Njord is of Norwegian and Scots-Irish ancestry, standing 5’11” and weighs about 160 pounds. He is blue-eyed, fair-skinned, and has curly red hair with a frost of white most noticeable in his beard. He has worn glasses since adolescence.
Originally written by Rosie Macka, updated by Patricia Dunworth.
- A list of Books and other writings by Njord Kane can be found <here>.
- Samples of oil paintings by Njord Kane can be found <here>.