Monday, November 14, 2016

Authors To Watch: Don/Jonathan Weeks, authors of 'Scarecrow on the Marsh'

For over thirty years, Don Weeks was among the most popular radio personalities in the Capital District region of New York State. He received a Marconi Award for radio excellence in 2005 and was inducted into to the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame four years later. He had just completed a rough draft of Scarecrow on the Marsh when he died of Merkle Cell Cancer in March of 2015. Author royalties from this project will be donated to the WGY Christmas Wish Campaign, which benefits a variety of charitable causes. Weeks worked tirelessly over the years to help raise money for the campaign.
Jonathan Weeks has published several books on the topic of baseball--four non-fiction projects and one novel. His latest work, a mystery-thriller entitled Scarecrow on the Marsh, is a posthumous collaboration with his father--former radio icon Don Weeks, who passed away in 2015. Weeks finished the book in fulfillment of a promise he made to his father before he died.  

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About the Book:

Title: Scarecrow on the Marsh: A Cape Cod Thriller
Author: Don Weeks
Publisher: All Things That Matter
Pages: 192
Genre: Mystery/Thriller

When the mutilated body of renowned cosmetic surgeon Randall Landry turns up at a secluded bayside marsh in the town of Sandwich, Police Chief Thom Burrough's life is turned upside down. While investigating the murder, he and Barnstable County coroner Abby Rhodes will uncover a plot more sinister than anything they could have imagined. On the outskirts of Chatham, a group of terrorists has assembled to unleash destruction on Cape Cod.

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Tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Schenectady, which is in the Capital Region of New York State. I moved to Malone, New York about twelve years ago. It’s way up near the Canadian border. I’ve been working in the Human Services field for the better part of two decades serving adults with mental illness. Writing is my part-time job. Including Scarecrow on the Marsh, I’ve published six books to date.  
When did you begin writing?
I used to collect comic books as a kid. I started sketching superheroes around second grade. Eventually, I started writing and drawing my own comics borrowing most of my ideas from the Marvel and DC characters of the era. As time wore on, I became less interested in illustrating and more focused on writing short stories. I wrote my first story in fourth grade. I vaguely remember that it was a ghost story.
Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
There’s definitely a lot of planning and research involved. Most of the books I’ve published have been non-fiction. Scarecrow on the Marsh is the second novel I’ve been involved in. I’m always surprised by the amount of fact-checking that goes into a work of fiction. It’s easy to get facts screwed up from chapter to chapter—even if they’re facts that came from your own imagination. I usually do most of my writing in the early morning. It’s when all the best ideas come to me. I have an office in the back of my house. It’s loaded with baseball memorabilia so it looks more like a Man Cave than an office. 

Can you tell us about your most recent release?
Scarecrow on the Marsh is a posthumous collaboration with my Father, Don Weeks. For thirty years, he was among the most popular radio personalities in the Capital Region of New York State. He won a Marconi Award and was later inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame. He always wanted to write a book and started one after his retirement. Tragically, he died of Merkel Cell Cancer before he could finish it. As he lay dying, I promised him I would complete the project for him and try to find a publisher. I’m happy that I was able to do so. Scarecrow on the Marsh is set on Cape Cod. It starts out as a murder mystery then evolves into something more. I don’t want to give too much away. All author royalties are being donated to my Father’s favorite charity, the WGY Christmas Wish Campaign, which benefits sick and underprivileged children in upstate New York. 
How did you get the idea for the book?
The story is something my father came up with over thirty years ago. He wrote part of a first draft back in 1979 then lost the manuscript and notes. He was able to complete a “new” first draft before he died.
Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
Definitely the hero—Thom Burroughs. He’s noble and old-fashioned. He has many of the personality traits of my father.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Dealing with the loss of my Dad. Every chapter I worked on was a reminder that I would never be able to speak to him ever again. He was my best friend. It still hurts.
Which authors have inspired your writing?
My Father was particularly fond of science fiction writer Ray Bradbury. He read Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine at least a half dozen times. In my own contributions to Scarecrow on the Marsh, I tried to channel Robert B. Parker. I had never tried to write a mystery/crime thriller before and, in that particular genre, I had the most exposure to Parker’s work. 
What projects are you currently working on?
I have a non-fiction book coming out next year about Latino players in major league baseball. That one is already written. Right now, I’m working on my third fiction project, which falls into the category of alternative history.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Make sure you have thick skin because writing is a tough business to break into. Keep polishing your art. Don’t ever give up.

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