This summer, Palm Beach Happening has given our readers a glimpse into the minds of some of the greatest fiction and nonfiction authors of the 21st century. Today, we continue that quest with our profile of Boynton Beach based author Ward Parker.
How did you get your start in the literary world?
I wrote a lot of short stories. Most were speculative fiction, but some were literary. I received quite a few rejections before I started selling them to paying markets, including publications and anthologies that paid what were considered pro rates.
Can you tell us a little more about what you do?
My day job is advertising copywriter. I’m a partner and Chief Creative Officer at Brown Parker & DeMarinis Advertising in Boca Raton. But my lifelong passion is writing fiction. I have recently begun two different series of novels: the Zeke Adams hardboiled mystery series set on Florida’s Treasure Coast, and The Teratologist, supernatural medical mysteries set in Gilded Age Palm Beach. The Teratologist is debuting this month (August). Both series are published by Pandamoon Publishing.
What is your favorite part about being an author?
My favorite part is building worlds, creating characters, and, especially, trying to craft inspiring prose. Writing is hard but I get a rush out of it. Editing is fun, too, but not as much as writing. Even though I work in advertising, I haven’t quite mastered marketing my own work yet. Sure, I can create ads for it, but getting out to pound the pavement and be a salesman is more difficult for me. No one warned me that introverted writers have to learn to become extroverted!
How do you get your inspiration?
I like to say that Florida is my muse and my novels are inspired by the history, natural beauty, and weird characters of our state. More specifically, the Zeke Adams novels are partly inspired by news stories I’ve hoarded over the years. The Teratologist, like my horror short stories, is inspired by my fears and nightmares!
Of all the characters you’ve created, which one would you like to see come alive on the silver screen?
Dr. Frank Follett of the Teratologist would be a great screen hero in his period wardrobe and erudite style, mixing with high society while battling monsters.
Can you tell us a bit about your book?
My new book is The Teratologist, the start of a new historical mystery series set in Florida at the turn of the 20th Century. A teratologist is a medical specialist who specializes in physical abnormalities, like the Elephant Man, the term deriving from the Greek word for “monster.” In the first book, Dr. Frank Follett teams up with Mark Twain in Palm Beach to find a serial killer who kidnapped a young patient. But in the process, he discovers actual supernatural monsters that challenge his scientific mind—and threaten his life.
What is your next big project?
I just turned in the manuscript for the next Zeke Adams mystery. Next, I’ll dive into another Teratologist novel.
Anything else you’d like to add?
If you’re a reader and live in Florida, be sure to check out Florida authors. Our state has an amazing literary heritage and is home to tons of great contemporary writers in all genres.