By KALEY CONNER
Technology has been a lifelong fascination for Kiel Emerson.
As a child, he helped his father upgrade the family computer from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95, and he enjoyed taking computers apart and rebuilding them as a teenager.
Fast forward several years, and Emerson still is helping people with software updates and computer problems. In fact, he and his brother, Chris, have made a business of it.
"It's something we had been interested in for quite a while," Kiel Emerson said. "Chris and I are both pretty driven individuals and just kind of motivated to do what we can and help people out and ... kind of explore our interest in computers."
The brothers purchased Compare Computers LLC approximately 10 years ago, and Emerson graduated from Fort Hays State University in 2005 with a degree in computer information systems and programming.
The business offers many services, including computer repairs, virus removal, custom programming and Web development.
Emerson's career took an unexpected turn when he recently became a published author. He helped many customers who were having difficulty navigating Windows 8, the most recent Microsoft software, which differs significantly from earlier versions.
He began writing many pages of notes and instructions to help customers approximately a year ago and decided to put all of the information together.
"I guess it kind of surprised me how much information (I had)," said Emerson, a Hoisington native. "It ended up being a book instead of just a guide."
The finished product, "Beginning Windows 8 and Microsoft Office 2013," was published in late February via Amazon's Create Space and offers nearly 300 pages of information. A black-and-white version will be released soon.
After being listed on Amazon for approximately a week, Emerson received many orders for the book, some coming from as far away as Britain, he said, noting word of mouth also is spreading quickly in western Kansas.
"I haven't really mentioned it but just to a few people, and already I've just heard from all kinds of people that have heard from word of mouth," Emerson said. "I've been really surprised how quickly things have spread."
He said he hopes eventually to sell the book in local stores.
Emerson said he never expected to write a book, but a follow-up project already is under way. He has begun work on a book explaining Windows 7.
"I felt like, with the major changes with Windows 8, it was probably the priority of getting that out first to help people," he said. "I still have a lot of people who prefer Windows 7, and Windows XP support is going to be ending next year."
Emerson said there's always plenty of work to keep him busy, but that's OK with him; he loves his job. When asked what he enjoys doing in his spare time, Emerson chuckled.
"Honestly, I pretty well work on computers all the time," he said. "One hobby that's still computer-related -- I do enjoy programming and learning more about programming. If I read a book, usually it's a programming-related book."