Lee Garrett may bear many similarities to Scott Overton, but the local author insists the character in Dead Air is completely fictitious.
“They always say write what you know, so that’s what I went to,” Overton said.
The Sudburian, who can be heard every morning on Rewind 103.9 and writes theatre reviews for Northern Life, based his debut novel on the industry he knows best. When he originally penned the thriller, Overton was working at the AM country station CIGM 790 as a morning host. To ensure he and Garrett weren’t too much alike, Overton made some minor adjustments to his lead character. Instead of working in the country realm, Garrett was on air on a station playing hits from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
“Reality has caught up with fiction,” Overton said with a laugh.
The fact that the novel is based in Sudbury, the city Overton has called home for a quarter-century, could also lead some to believe the novel is his own story. Again, Overton said it’s simply a matter of making the story believable.
“It’s not about glamorous people — it’s about real people,” he said. In a small town, it’s not unrealistic for a personality to become a bit of a “quote-unquote ‘celebrity.’”
Despite his “Sudlebrity” status, Overton has never experienced anything quite like Garrett has — no one was ever threatened him with his life.
“When ... Garrett finds a death threat on his control console, he shrugs it off as a prank — until a series of minor harassments turns into a set of undeniable attempts on his life,” reads the synopsis of the novel. “The suspects are many — he’s made enemies — and the police are strangely unco-operative.
When the deadliest assault yet claims an innocent victim, Garrett knows he has no choice, he has to find his persecutors and force a confrontation. The extraordinary outcome will test the limits of an ordinary man.”
Overton said he’s never experienced anything of the sort, but being in the public eye means he has to use a certain amount of caution.
“I wanted to set it in radio because we are vulnerable,” Overton said. “We can make enemies without knowing it.”
The author said he has no intentions of the book creating any sort of trouble, it is simply a form of expression.
“I love books,” Overton said. “My house is lined with books. I’ve always wanted to be part of it.”
He has had short stories published in a variety of magazines, including the Canadian speculative fiction magazine On Spec. Another of his short pieces will be published in Terreracts Sixteen, published by the local house Your Scrivener Press. The anthology was released at the beginning of the month.
Dead Air makes its debut on store shelves following an Oct. 11 book launch at the Vale Living With Lakes Centre. Everyone is welcome to attend from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Around 8 p.m., Overton will read excerpts from the novel. For more information, visit scrivenerpress.com.