Local Reporter's First Novel About Man and Insects

By Eric Olson

January 31, 2014 Updated Jan 31, 2014 at 11:50 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive)--You may not know the face but you probably know the name. Dan Stockman’s been covering Fort Wayne news for the Journal Gazette newspaper for years. But he’s done something considered the antithesis of journalism…Dan Stockman has written a novel.

“Having to make stuff up, that was a difficult thing to overcome actually,” Stockman says, “because it just felt wrong.”

‘Brood X’ is the title of the book. It’s about a man who, at age 34, decides to go find the girl he fell in love with when he was 17. But woven into that fictional plot is the very real story of the life cycle of the 17 year cicada, the insect that hibernates underground for 17 years then comes out into the sunshine for just six weeks, finds a mate and dies…a harsh but poignant existence for this little insect that just happens to make a great framework to hang a tale on.

“There’s a lot of parallels between his story and their life cycle,” Stockman says. “It was a very complicated outline between adult Andy’s story (the protagonist), the flashbacks to young Andy and then weaving in the cicadas.”

Writing ‘just the facts’ newspaper stories with severe time and space constraints are a different world from novel writing, but stockman says there are similarities.

“You can have a great investigation into corrupt politicians but unless you have compelling writing it’s almost meaningless,” Stockman says, “because people aren’t going to read it.”

As for a second novel, Stockman says he has a couple of projects to finish up first, like a thesis for the Master’s degree in creative writing he’s working on. But he says he’s tasted the other side of writing now and likes it. So, like the venerable cicada, his next novel will emerge…the timing however, yet to be determined. Eric Olson, out in 21 Country.

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