In his debut novel, "King of Nod," Landenberg resident Scott Fad draws on personal experiences and memories to create a fictional tale that is a little bit of everything-ghost story, coming-of-age drama, romance, social commentary and mystery."Nod" focuses on the 20-year, self-imposed exile of main character Boo Taylor, who returns to Sweetpatch Island, S.C., following his father's mysterious death.
When he returns, Boo is greeted by an island completely different from the one he left. Over the years, the island has become a tourist destination, and the violence, hatred and betrayal he experienced seemed to never have happened.
Boo discovers that the island's secrets are buried under segregation, racism and hate crimes. Being the adopted son of the island's only white doctor, Boo struggles to bridge the divide between white and black, poor and rich, living and dead.
Fad said Boo's character started out a lot like Fad himself, but ended up becoming very different.
"Bad things happen to him as a child, and he grows into a bitter adult," said Fad.
Careful not to reveal major plot points, Fad said Boo eventually returns to the island, which restores him and results in some "startling changes" in his life.
"I often wonder if karma will come back to haunt me after what I put these characters through," said Fad.
Another character in the book, Laylee Colebriar, is based on Miss Virginia Wood, or "Miss Ginny" as Fad and his siblings called her growing up in Newark, Del.
Fad described Wood as a "magical lady," who lived at the end of his street in a shack and took care of him and told him ghost stories as a child.
"I remember spending hours picking weeds out of that garden with her cackling at me from the porch," said Fad, who also kept a photo of Wood taped to his computer while he was writing the book.
She kept a garden, made her own dandelion wine, and had a cure for almost any ailment.
"Once she cured these warts I had on my hand by rubbing them with some concoction made out of raw bacon, and I still don't know what else was in it," said Fad. "Sure enough the warts were gone three days later," he said.
Another important character in the book is Joker Tribbit, a descendent of slaves who was lynched on the island during the 19th century. According to local legend, Tribbit returns in the form of a ferocious beast that haunts the island and seeks vengeance for his murder.
According to Fad, the beast often becomes a metaphor for the darker side of human manifestation throughout the book.
"It represents that element in our nature that seeks the bad in other people or finds reasons to identify with or against others," he said. "The ghost represents the beast in all of us."
Fad also said the ghost represents how racism impacts the characters in the book, which historically takes place during two time periods.
"It really gets into that element of our nature that's foolish and destructive and unnecessary," he said.
It took Fad 12 years to complete the more than 2,000 page "Nod," which he quietly worked on amidst his corporate life at a major healthcare company in Wilmington, Del.
Fad, who has a degree in literature from the University of Delaware, said he had previously written a book while in college, but was unsatisfied with the result.
"It was just awful, and I had a better idea for more of a ghost story," he said.
In the mid 1990s, Fad said he quit working for about a year and a half and to work on the book, but ultimately returned to work when the money was running out.
He tried to get the book published a long time before he finally decided to self-publish it a year ago. When he received some favorable reviews, he approached several publishers again and the book was picked up by Hooded Friar Press.
On October 31, Hooded Friar Press will officially release the book nationally and will launch a full publicity tour.
"It's sort of a miracle when you think about how hard it is to get a publisher interested in your book. I feel very fortunate to have them take interest," Fad said.
Fad also credits his family for their support through the process.
"I spent a long time writing it and made a lot of sacrifices," he said. "It's just really exciting for me right now."
For more information visit www.hoodedfriar.com.