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:
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.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
My father, Don Weeks, came up with the idea. 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 inducted into the New York State Broadcasters Hall of Fame. Despite his accomplishments, there was one bucket list item left unchecked at the time of his retirement. He always wanted to publish a novel. He completed a rough draft of Scarecrow on the Marsh before falling ill with Merkel Cell Cancer around Christmas 2014. It’s a rare and progressive disease with only 1,500 cases being diagnosed in the U.S. every year. Within a few months, my father was gone. As he lay dying, I promised him I would complete the novel for him and try to find a publisher.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
The book was especially hard for me because I was dealing with the loss of my father. I missed him terribly and didn’t want to tamper with his work. But let’s face it—a rough draft is far from perfect. And the edits I ended up making went far beyond simple spelling and punctuation. At times I felt like I was betraying him. I tried very hard to preserve every element of his story. I tried to channel his writing style. I did a lot of fact-checking especially when it came to the setting. Scarecrow on the Marsh is set on Cape Cod. My father had been there recently and was intimately familiar with the place. I hadn’t been to the Cape in over fifteen years and my memory was somewhat foggy.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
I reached out to more than thirty publishers before signing with All Things That Matter Press. They’re a small, indie outfit with a print-on-demand format. I like the POD model. It reduces publishing costs and increases author royalties. POD publishers are more receptive to first time authors. Since it’s not a self-publishing arrangement, there are absolutely no author fees.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
Scarecrow on the Marsh is not my first book. I had previously published five books of my own—mostly non-fiction. But finishing my Father’s novel was by far the most difficult project I have ever taken on. It saddens me to think that my Father isn’t around to see his book in print. It was one of his lifelong dreams.
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
Before Scarecrow on the Marsh, my publishing career was limited to sports writing. I have a baseball book coming out next spring entitled Latino Stars in the Major Leagues. I’m currently working on a fiction project that falls into the category of alternative history. In the future, I’d like to write more fiction.
Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?
It took over thirty years to complete. My father wrote part of a rough draft in 1979 before the demands of his radio job derailed the project. The original manuscript and notes were lost at some point and never recovered. My Father was able to complete a “new” version before he died. I worked on the book for six months before submitting it to publishers.
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
The book itself doesn’t have any specific message but the loss of my father has taught me something. If you reach out to people with kindness and humor, you can live on in their hearts and minds. This might sound cliché but it’s absolutely true.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
All author royalties for Scarecrow on the Marsh will be donated to my father’s favorite charity—the Christmas Wish Campaign. It’s sponsored by the radio station he worked at for thirty years (810 WGY). The charity benefits sick and underprivileged children in upstate New York.