Driving along George Washington Parkway, the same way many Northern Virginia commuters start their day, is how Mount Vernon resident John Wasowicz found the inspiration for his first novel, “Daingerfield Island.” “Daingerfield Island,” a legal thriller meets murder mystery, is a story based on and inspired by local attractions and landmarks. Though many people might drive past and find Daingerfield Island an idyllic marina, Wasowicz mused about a darker reality and set the stage for his murderous novel.
In addition to his local surroundings, Wasowicz was inspired by his career when writing his novel. A graduate of Catholic University Law School, Wasowicz has been practicing law in Northern Virginia for over 30 years. Following a stint as a prosecutor in Arlington County, Wasowicz spent 15 years working for private practices or as a solo practitioner in law offices in Arlington, Fairfax, and the City of Alexandria. Wasowicz has since returned to the public sector where he has been for the past 12 years.
Inspiration for the book began when Wasowicz was a prosecutor. Ideas for fictional characters emerged from his time in the courtroom and examining numerous cases. Many of the characters are a fictitious blend of the the figures Wasowicz encountered over his legal career. The behaviors of many attorneys he has encountered and the observations he has made had a major impact on the characterization of some of the key figures in “Daingerfield Island.” Having the experience of standing before judges and juries contributed to the detail Wasowicz was able to infuse into his writing.
As for the writing itself, Wasowicz notes that when writing a book “you spend a lot of time by yourself taking the ideas that have been percolating in your head during the day and putting them down on paper at night.” Brickhouse Books, a publishing company in Baltimore contributed greatly to Wasowicz’ ability to complete his novel. He cites them as being very helpful in terms of editing and feedback, claiming that the process of writing a book is truly a group effort. For Wasowicz, the process of writing a book was exciting. He said that the best part of writing is when “the story begins to write itself,” and the author follows the path the story begins to make for itself.
Wasowicz wanted to incorporate a moral into his story by making it a reflection of life’s constant balance between good and evil. His book is an acknowledgement of the fact that the force of evil sometimes nears the strength of the good. Throughout his career Wasowicz has observed that hubris and arrogance are the root cause of most crime. He wanted to ensure that his story demonstrated the seemingly constant efforts of good forces to unmask and expose the evil in our society.
Wasowicz has visited various locations throughout Virginia to sign and sell copies of his book which are sold at many independent bookstores in the area. He is scheduled to be at The Old Town Shop in Alexandria on March 22. Wasowicz aspires to continue his journey as an author and his next book, which will feature characters from “Daingerfield Island,” is set to be published later this year.