Dover figures prominently in new novel

Although he’s never visited Dover, Pat Paxton thought the city would be the perfect setting for his first novel “Camelot’s Misplaced Son.” (Submitted photo)

Pat Paxton, a West Virginia native, has never been to Dover but always felt the city was unique in its own way.

“I have no experiences of being in Dover,” Mr. Paxton said. “I just really like Dover’s little spot in the world.”

Mr. Paxton admired the city so much that when it was time to write his first novel “Camelot’s Misplaced Son,” he decided to base the location of the book in the capital city.

“I’ve always thought Dover was tucked away into a really neat part of the country,” Mr. Paxton said.

“It’s surrounded by several big cities, but still out of their reach, somehow. Dover seems really unique, in that it’s a small town, but it’s also the state capital, home to a military base, among other things.”

“For my story, I wanted a smaller town near the ocean,” Mr. Paxton added. “The Chesapeake Bay tunnels were important to the story, too, so it helped that Dover wasn’t far away.”

“Camelot’s Misplaced Son” is a story about an ordinary, working-class 29-year-old single father, who is finding out through some weird occurrences that his real parents may be John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy. It’s a mix of genres, with a bit of suspense, action, romance, paranormal, and humor.

Some of the local landmarks in the book include the Dover Mall and Loockerman Street.

“The Dover Mall parking lot plays a key role in the story,” Mr. Paxton said. “I use the actual names of many roads and streets. Loockerman Street is the setting for much of the book. I created a fictional seven-story office building, where the main characters work in a bank, but I placed it on Loockerman.

“I couldn’t write a thriller novel involving that area without mentioning the Murderkill River and Slaughter Beach. Those names were just begging to be included.”

Mr. Paxton said he watched every video of Dover he could find on YouTube to accurately portray the city.

“I also spent a lot of time on my phone’s map,” Mr. Paxton said. “There’s a great deal of information available on the internet regarding facts about the city, photographs, and videos. With that said, I did take a little creative license when telling the story. It’s not a documentary, for sure.”

For his first novel Mr. Paxton said he’s received a lot of great feedback, but still doesn’t consider himself a writer.

“I never set out to be a writer,” Mr. Paxton said. “I have a hard time calling myself that, even now. I had a seed in my head for part of the story for a lot of years. I’m 57 now, but when I was about 50, I had a pretty serious health issue, which appears to have gone on vacation for a while.

“I got to thinking that I’d better hurry up and start trying some of the things I was interested in. One itch I scratched was getting a small uncredited part in an episode of the Fox TV show, “Sleepy Hollow.” That was interesting, but this story is the thing that came bubbling up.”

Mr. Paxton said for about four years he wrote off and on, in spurts.

“One day it was just done,” Mr. Paxton said. “I never really thought, ‘I want to be an author.’”

But through it all, he’s very happy with responses he’s received about his book.

“The common phrase I seem to hear from most people is ‘I couldn’t put it down,’” Mr. Paxton said. “I did my best to keep it fast-paced.

“There’s a lot happening in the story: among other things, JFK Junior’s plane crash, a house burning down, a bar fight, a chase through the streets of Manhattan, and strange storms that incite the nice folks of Dover to violence then return them to their friendly selves when the storm is over. There’s quite a bit of spookiness. The story builds to an exciting finish, if I’m allowed to say that about my own book.”

Released in May by Hydra Publications, it’s available in both print and e-book on the websites of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-a-Million

Mr. Paxton has already been putting notes together for his next novel. He hopes to start writing it in the next couple of months.

“One reason I took four years to write the first one, is that I was figuring a lot of things out about writing as I went along,” Mr. Paxton said. “I also took long periods of time off from it. The next one is already starting to seep out of me, so it’ll be a much shorter gestation.”

In the meantime, Mr. Paxton hopes to find the time to finally visit Dover for the first time.

“I haven’t but I would love to visit,” Mr. Paxton said. “I’ve got family there that I don’t get to see very often, so it would be wonderful to catch up with them and actually put foot to pavement on the streets that occupied my head for so long.”

Arshon Howard is a freelance writer living in Dover.

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