WB: Tell us about the Vaneks.
JV: We met in college and had active careers while raising two children in Oberlin, Ohio. I’m a retired physician. My wife, Geni, has a doctorate in science education and spent most of her career in medical education. We moved to Dolphin Cay in 2005, and began our second careers in writing. Her first book, Bonnets to Boardrooms: Women’s Stories from a Historic College Town (available on Amazon.com) is a collection of interviews from our local historical society.
WB: How did you get started writing?
JV: I’ve always loved to read, especially mysteries. A college professor liked my work and encouraged me to continue, but pre-med students don’t have many electives. Near the end of my medical career, I began taking college courses and attending writers’ conferences, including Writers in Paradise at Eckerd College. I was pleased and surprised when magazines and literary journals began publishing my writing and my poetry was showcased on public radio. I was also invited to read my work at the George Bush Presidential Library, the Akron Art Museum, colleges, and the Cleveland Clinic. I discovered the healing power of poetry as I dealt with my mother’s Alzheimer’s disease, my father’s death from cancer, the suicide of a family friend, and the suffering and incredible bravery that I witnessed in my medical practice. Poetry provided a vehicle that took me to places that logic wouldn’t go. It became a way of understanding the incomprehensible, both in life and in medicine. After my poetry book (Heart Murmurs: Poems – also available on Amazon.com) was published, I set out to write the murder mystery I’d always dreamed of writing, which became my first novel, DEROS. Little did I know that it was the first book of a mystery series.
WB: Tell us about DEROS.
JV: An army medic’s quest for inner peace after a brutal war leads him from mending bodies to healing souls as a priest. A murder in his hometown and the resurrection of buried feelings for the woman he once loved, however, shatter his serenity. Is God testing him, or does Fate have a twisted sense of humor? When he stumbles upon the link between the town’s abolitionist history and the murder, he must confront his violent past, protect those he loves, and resolve his doubts about the priesthood. My mysteries are not about Catholicism. Instead, they all deal with life at the crossroads of good and evil, and the challenges of living a spiritual life in a secular world. The importance of family, forgiveness, self-healing, commitment, and knowing your own heart are recurrent themes. My priest character, by the way, is based loosely on a close friend.
WB: You asked Lifestyles at Dolphin Cay readers to support your novel. What can we do to help?
JV: DEROS is up for possible publication by Amazon. Please go to my contest page and read the beginning of DEROS, then PLEASE NOMINATE IT for publication (by clicking the blue Nominate button). If it is chosen for publication, you will receive a free Kindle copy of my novel. The print and audio versions should be available soon after. There is no cost or risk to you. If you have a problem with this link, go to the Amazon Kindle Scout Contest and click on the DEROS book cover (under "Mystery, Thriller & Suspense"), then please NOMINATE it, and ask your family and friends to do the same.
WB: Do you have a writing website?
JV: Yes. It is https://www.facebook.com/JohnVanekAuthor
WB: Good luck and thanks for chatting.
JV: My pleasure. And a huge thank you to you, Bill, and to all of the Dolphin Cay residents who support my book by nominating it on the Kindle Scout contest page. See you around the development.