1. The Rivergrass Legacy


THE BOOK: The Rivergrass Legacy


THE AUTHOR: John Chaplick

THE EDITOR: Paula Stahel of Breath & Shadows Productions

THE PUBLISHER: Cricket Cottage Publishing

SUMMARY (from back cover of the book): Set in the Rivergrass area near the Florida Everglades, this riveting novel holds the reader on edge from start to finish. What begins as a routine business acquisition analysis of a tropical fish hatchery turns into the discovery of a money-laundering plot.

Sole heir to the Concord Industries fortune, Grant Abbot Lonsdale III finds himself trapped between a vicious Colombian drug cartel and the hatchery’s owners who refuse to acknowledge his findings. While he struggles to reconcile his New England mindset with a rural Southern culture, Grant is haunted by the mistake he made years before when he yielded to parental pressure and rejected Sarah Jane Jankovic, his true love from the slums of South Boston.

The Rivergrass Legacy weaves an intricate tapestry of mystery and romance that challenges Grant’s aristocratic family values and changes his life and Sarah’s.

THE BACK STORY:  A few The Rivergrass Legacyyears ago I spent several months searching for the kind of fiction novel plot that would combine my background in forensic accounting (fraud, embezzlement, money laundering) with a venue far different from any I had either written about or read about. Prompted by my lifelong hobby of raising tropical fish, I visited several fish hatcheries in South Florida. It was during one of these trips that the idea occurred to me to merge these two interests into what I knew would be an engaging story. Eighteen months later, having published the book, I gave a signed copy of it to each of the hatchery owners, who were delighted to read it.

WHY THIS TITLE? I originally titled the manuscript The Hatchery until my beta readers pleaded for something more catchy. I decided the plot needed something that would capture both a unique geographic venue and the impact of the adventure on the life of the protagonist. The Rivergrass Legacy title accomplished both of those objectives.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Readers want more than simply an engaging story. They want to be transported to a place they’ve never been before. And they want a plot that introduces them to a unique concept that is extraordinary enough to hold their attention and make them apprehensive, and yet real enough to be believable. Moreover, they want to identify with an imperfect protagonist who makes the same kind of mistakes they might make. The Rivergrass Legacy treats the reader to all of these experiences.

REVIEW COMMENTS: Five or six of these can be seen on my amazon.com link where a number of fife-star ratings are shown. However my favorite review I’ve quoted below, written by a person who never liked to read books but was persuaded (pressured) by his wife to read “Rivergrass:”

“I just finished ‘The Rivergrass Legacy’ and thoroughly enjoyed it! It kept me in suspense from beginning, through the first climax, to end, keeping me awake long past bedtime for two nights. Terrific plot, believable characters just sufficiently larger than life to make them interesting, some Florida interest, a little business education thrown in, and a sprinkling of humor (my favorite: Grant’s visit to the Myakka clothing store which had me laughing out loud.)

AUTHOR PROFILE: The morning after I retired from my consulting business I finished my first coffee of the day and it suddenly occurred to me that I had no plans. No one needed my advice, I had no required meetings to attend, no more reports were due. I found myself alone in the kitchen staring at four walls with nothing left except the prospect of either watching the grass grow or maybe learning how to cultivate roses. The only barrier between me and the onset of panic was the recollection of a promise I had made to myself twenty years earlier that one day I would write a book. I had already completed two of the three things a person should accomplish before leaving this earth…I had planted a tree, raised a child, and now it was time to complete the third: write a book.

I began by meeting with a seasoned, and somewhat caustic, writer who admitted she really didn’t see the point in passing on literary advice to a CPA. She began our conversation by asking if I had ever read anything other than the Internal Revenue Code. Our dialogue went downhill from there but at least I learned how much work lay ahead of me before I could produce any credible writings. Three years, two critique groups, and a lot of scathing reviews later I managed to climb high enough on the learning curve to produce my first full-length novel-An enduring Conspiracy. Much more climbing allowed me to write The Rivergrass Legacy. It’s been an interesting journey.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: The plot and character development in Rivergrass are shaped by my basic parameters for every novel I write:

1. The underlying premise must be broad…money laundering, which has been referred to as our economy’s next largest threat to undermining our financial system.

2. No such thing as a perfectly righteous hero or a completely evil villain

3. Strong non-dialogue descriptions which I call “atmospherics” are required

4. No character stays the same throughout the book. Obstacles change them

5. All my books have a twist at the end. No, please don’t read the end first!

6. Author should capture the reader’s interest early on…preferably on page one

7. Dialogue is critical to defining the characters through their manner of speech

8. My books are condensed to minimize unnecessary “filler” narrative.

SAMPLE CHAPTER: Read the first chapter on the book’s Amazon  page.

LOCAL OUTLETS: None except those held in stock by the Life Enrichment Center in Tampa where I teach writing classes

WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: All my books are available either via my website @ EngagingBooksBlog.com or through amazon.com.

PRICE: Rivergrass and “Bridge of the Paper Tiger” are $12.00 and “Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion” is $14.00

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: My website is as shown above and my email address is jpchaplick@gmail.com. I have an Amazon author’s page and a presence on both linkedin and facebook

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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