By Graeme McNaughton/The Oshawa Express
Buck Woods, a homicide detective with the NYPD, needed a break from the big city, and made the choice to go back to his roots, heading to Orono, Maine to stay and work on a cabin left to him by his grandfather.
However, inside the cabin he finds the body of a murdered man.
The ensuing mystery is from the pages of The Cabin, the debut novel by Oshawa’s W.D. Frolick. It has taken decades for the Oshawa senior to make the move from amateur writer to published author.
“When I was about 13, 14, I started writing a short story about a trapper named Buck Woods. He was out in the country in the back woods with a dog,” he says of the character he created based on an older brother who died when Frolick was a child.
“He was my hero. I was only 8 when that happened. I always wanted to write about what he did — he liked to hunt, trap, fish, that sort of thing.”
As a teen, Frolick would write short stories and poetry – they’re pretty bad looking back on them now, he says – and later songwriting. It was that latter passion that Frolick would go back to in 1995 after his wife passed away. That songwriting would lead the former GM worker and real estate agent to get into the music business, setting up Frozen North Music, a small music publishing company in 2001.
However, as the years went by, Frolick wanted to try something new.
“Last year in November, my wife and I got talking…and I mentioned I wanted to write a novel of some sort, and she challenged me to actually do it,” he says. “So I thought, OK I’ll give it a shot.”
As Frolick was reading a lot of murder mysteries at the time, he decided that that was what he was going to do. He also decided to revive Buck Woods from his earliest writing days, casting what had been a backwoods trapper into a New York City homicide detective.
In fact, Frolick and his new wife made the trip to Orono – Woods’ hometown – to scout the place out, in order to ensure that his writing was accurate.
Frolick says that, as a senior, it is important to keep your mind busy, and the process that went into writing his debut novel helped that.
“I had to read a lot of books on forensics, bought books on writing, did some courses on writing to get some ideas. For the past year or so, I’ve been studying to become a better writer,” he says.
“It’s opened my eyes to a lot of things I didn’t know about, and it’s been a constant learning curve ever since.”
Frolick’s writing hasn’t stopped with The Cabin, which is available online on Amazon, as he already has plans to release his second novel, Music City Murders. This time, the action comes to Nashville, where a serial killer is on the loose. Needless to say, the 76-year-old isn’t slowing down just yet – something he says seniors can take to heart.
“Sometimes you just need to get off your butt, keep active, do something you’ve always wanted to do.
It doesn’t matter if you’re successful or not, it’s just to say that you’ve done it. And that’s what I’m trying to do here.”