Ex-LaRue resident publishes 'Geezer Bench'
Fields says village he remembers had Norman Rockwell air about it
May 28, 2014 |
The Marion Star
Scott Fields had written more than a half dozen books when a friend sat with him at his house to share his idea for another.
“I even have a title, ‘The Geezer Bench,’” Fields said, recalling the conversation. “Well, with just the title he got my attention.”
The novel tells the story of four friends who share their thoughts of the day as they sit on a public bench before returning to and from their private lives of mixed sorrow and happiness.
According to Fields, the book has been getting attention, “doing real well,” which pleases him for himself and for his hometown of LaRue, where he set the story in his eighth book.
“It’s not quite the same as it was back in the ’50s,” Fields, now a Mansfield resident, said. “In the ’50s it was your Norman Rockwell kind of setting: three or four grocery stores, five gas stations. You didn’t have to worry about taking your keys out of your car. ... I’d go down to the Scioto River and go fishing and swimming.”
His previous book, “The Mansfield Killings,” based on a murder spree in 1948 in the Richland County city, has been his best-seller, he said. It also represented a departure from the type of writing he prefers: “I like for people to have a good feeling when they get done reading a book of mine, to see there’s a bright side at the end. That’s what life really is. That’s what I try to put in my books.”
Ironically, he’s writing another book about Robert Dale Henderson, a serial killer who claimed victims in southern Ohio, Mississippi, Louisiana, South Carolina and Florida. He learned of the murders at a book-signing for “The Mansfield Killings” in Delaware, where he met a woman who said her aunt had been married to Henderson.
“I’ve got to write something I can’t imagine,” he said, referring to the violence at the center of the story.
Retired from retail management of Kmart and Pep Boys stores, the 65-year-old Fields in his youth was a talented pitcher for Elgin High School, having been drafted 34th in the 1966 Major League Baseball Amateur Baseball Draft by the Detroit Tigers, after future Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson and before stars such as Steve Garvey and Bernie Williams.
He chose instead to go to Ohio University “to learn about writing.”
“My grandson still does not forgive me for that,” he said. “I played baseball. My dad worked with me all those years. (But) I really didn’t like baseball. I loved to pitch. ... It’s something I’ve got to live with the rest of my life. You’re 18. You don’t know much about the world. I decided I’d go to college to learn about writing.”
He said the college instruction helped, but decided a person either has the skill to write or doesn’t. “You just need to practice,” he said.
Professional writing for Fields began about 20 years ago with short stories. “I got a few published, and someone said, ‘Why don’t you write a novel?’ So I did.”
He then started looking for an agent to help him market his books. The process took about 10 years, he said, remarking, “It’s harder to get an agent than to get a book published.”
The effort has been worth it, he said, sharing that with his agent’s help he likely will have two more books published this year.
He’s been around writing his entire life.
“My mother was a writer,” he said. “She never got published, but she was a very talented writer. From the time I can remember, probably since I was 5 years old, I had the idea of a story I always wanted to write. The pressure of family and making a living kind of put it on the back (burner).” He said in his retirement he always has three of four ideas for books he wants to write. His son, Michael Scott Fields, also recently had a book, “Spirits of the Darkness,” published.
He said he “absolutely loved writing” his latest novel, adding that typically he doesn’t read a book after he writes it, but did read “The Geezer Bench” and found tears running down his face. “And I wrote it. It has some real touching things in it.”
LaRue has been the setting for some of his other books, as well, but not always without constructive criticism from local residents. He said none of “The Geezer Bench” arises from his own life, adding that he won’t even claim any allusion to places and things in the story to be entirely accurate.
“Even the stuff I put in as fact like the bench in front of the dry good store is up for debate,” he said, good-naturedly.
He said although they are not yet scheduled, he plans to do two book-signing events in Marion County.
Fields, who previously held a signing for his book "A Summer Harvest," is now promoting his newest book "Last Days of Summer." The signing is 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the LaRue library, where copies will be available.
The fictional novel takes place in the 1940s and centers around a girl in the small town of Millersburg, Iowa, who is known for her sometimes bizarre inventions, including one that burnt down the post office.
Her newest invention is a listening device through which she accidentally overhears a conversation about a Nazi plan to attack Washington, D.C. When no one will take her seriously she looks into it herself and ends up meeting German leader Adolph Hitler.
Fields said he got the idea while thinking what if, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, the Germans had bombed the nation's capitol.
The title reflects the "last days of innocence" before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the United States' entrance into the war.
Fields, who lives in Mansfield, has written a number of books, including several not yet published. "A Summer Harvest," published in 2004, was a romantic comedy that, while fiction, reflected life in the village of LaRue as well as the area's battles with Buckeye Egg Farm.
He said his books are written with teens and young adults in mind, but added that he also has a following among female readers.
His biggest success has been through ebooks, such as downloadable books for Amazon's Kindle reader that are often cheaper than the printed books.
He is working through a literary agent in New Zealand who he met online.
"I enjoy it quite a bit," he said, adding that she handles the details and he "goes back to writing."
"Last Days of Summer" is published by Whiskey Creek Press at www.whiskeycreekpress. com.
It is available for $6.99 for an ebook and $14.95 for a printed book.
Reporter Kurt Moore: 740-375-5151 or firstname.lastname@example.org
View Comments | Share your thoughts »
Book Review for The Road Back Home -
The Road Back Home
By Scott Fields
265 pages at need a price
Charles River Press, Inc.
541 Long Lane
Casper WY 82609
There's nothing like a funeral to spark memories. Shivering in the harsh wintry winds, Izzy Watson reminisces about life when she was a young girl. Her mind goes back to 1955 when she was ten and brother Brody fifteen. That was a pivotal year for the Watsons, the year Brody perfected his 100 mph fastball and their father died saving his family from a fire. She tells her story to a sympathetic friend, mesmerizing readers with a trip back in time to a simpler era.
After her husband's death, Skeeter Watson is lost. She's always been a wife and stay at home mom and now she's faced with supporting a household and two growing children. Brody, especially, mourns his father's death and takes the loss hard. He gives up all hopes and plans involving baseball. Without his dad to coach, advise, and cheer him on, everything seems meaningless. Skeeter moves her family back to her hometown to live with their grandfather and his brother. She finds employment at a local tavern, a job that further complicates her life.
Brody matures dramatically in the summer of 1955. Privately, he grieves his father's death. But he meets new friends, joins them in investigating a local mystery, and finds himself attracted to an older woman rumored to be "easy." Brody refuses to play baseball, until the appearance of his father's journal changes his life. In Brody's mind, his father advises him from beyond the grave in the journal, a thought that comforts him and eases his guilty conscience.
I loved this book. The characters and story capture perfectly that innocent, hopeful time that was the 1950s in America. These are not caricatures, but real people, fully developed characters, honestly portrayed. Everyone from the argumentative Grandpa and uncle to the feisty easy woman to the quietly determined Brody are fine examples of people living in small town America. The narration by Izzy adds depth to the story. The Road Back Home is beautiful in its simplicity, well written, and highly recommended for teens and adults.
Review by Laurel Johnson
Author Scott Fields to hold book signing
LARUE - Author Scott Fields will hold a book signing on Aug. 18 for his third
novel, "The Road Back Home."
The signing will be held 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at LaRue Public Library. The story is set in LaRue during the 1950s and "captures the innocence of growing up in a bygone era," according to a press release from publisher Charles River Press.
Originally published August 8, 2007
Print this article E-mail this to a friend Subscribe Now