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Retired teacher’s third novel to publish next week

Mark Macedonia, a retired Seneca Valley Intermediate High School history teacher, will have his third novel published Friday, March 15. Submitted Photo

Readers will follow the yellow brick road as they encounter intrigue, murder and romance in 1928 in Mark Macedonia’s third novel, “Beware the Shifting Sands,” which will be released on Friday, March 15.

Macedonia, a retired Seneca Valley Intermediate High School history teacher, explained that as a student in a history class while pursuing his master’s degree in the 1990s, he encountered an article written in 1964 by Henry Littlefield, who was fascinated with the movie “The Wizard of Oz.”

Littlefield’s contention in the article, he said, was that the story that played out on the silver screen in 1939 was an allegory for American history in the 1880s and 1890s.

“I loved that, so that’s how I taught my classes at Seneca Valley when we got to the 1880s and ’90s,” Macedonia said. “We would connect these characters to various events in history.”

Given that he no longer has a classroom full of students to share the idea with, he decided to use the “Wizard of Oz” allegory in writing “Beware the Shifting Sands.”

“I thought it would be cool to create a murder mystery around that,” he said.

The novel is about a mining tycoon whose associates are being murdered one by one. The survivors are nervous they may be next, because they all share a secret.

The main character, Parker Simms, is a South Dakota native who worked for a law firm in New York City that was involved in the Teapot Dome scandal before moving back home.

The 50-chapter book also includes a love story, as a pair of historians who are engaged try to suss out the mystery of why the men are being eliminated.

“It’s connected to ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” Macedonia said.

Macedonia said writing satisfies a passion he developed over his 32 years of teaching history.

“It allows me to continue to utilize my research techniques and love for history, and at the same time weave them into a story that’s my own, but supported by a lot of historical facts,” he said.

“It’s a way to continue teaching, even though I’m not in the classroom anymore.”

Macedonia said the most difficult part of writing adult fiction is reducing the amount of descriptive language he includes.

“Billy Crystal, who also writes, once said ‘Writing is all about rewriting,’ and I find that’s what it is,” he said.

The conversations between characters are not difficult to come up with, Macedonia said.

“The easiest thing is writing dialogue,” he said. “It just comes naturally to me.”

“Beware the Shifting Sands” will be available on Amazon in paperback, hardback and e-book form on Friday, March 15.

“Beware the Shifting Sands” by Mark Macedonia. Submitted Photo

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