We Were the Zonks was born out of my love of song, and my desire to promote the music of my youth. The story, which became the vehicle to accomplish this, came to me in Sydney, Nebraska at a Dairy Queen. There, inside the newly remodeled restaurant, was a picture of a long ago defunct band who called themselves... The Zonks.
The boys who comprised the band were sitting on a Volkswagen Beetle with their instruments in front of a Dairy Queen from either the early 70's or late 60's, judging from the incidental evidence. The caption in the photograph indicated that they had been hired to travel around the country and give impromptu concerts, obviously to draw crowds and sell ice cream cones. The picture was just a decorative memento, but I was mesmerized, and stared at it for an inordinate amount of time.
Later, while traveling down the interstate, I began to wonder about the guys who made up the band. I wondered if they missed those bygone days. I wondered where they were and what they were doing now. And then, I imagined what might happen if they had a reunion, and a little magic came along...
This mythical reunion is where the story starts. It is there that the characters in my book discover that they still have a burning desire to create and share music. The fictionalized Zonks still want the dream 40 years after they broke up, and I don't think they are very different from any boy who ever picked up a guitar and tried to play three chords and carry a tune. There are millions and millions of wannabe rock stars driving trucks, delivering mail, assembling widgets, and doing any manner of mundane job that you might care to imagine.
What would I give to be able to play guitar like Jimmy Page? Name your body part. And, I know, I am not unusual. I move people for a living, and I know it's unusual for a man to not have a college guitar buried deep in his closet- literally, and figuratively.
What really happened to the boys on the Volkswagen? If this book becomes popular maybe we will all find out. I know I am curious. It would be fun to see if my storyline, or character development, in any way mirrors the actual story of their lives. What if this book motivates them to have a real reunion? What if they really did record some songs 40 years ago? I for one would love to hear an old Zonk 45. Anyone out there gotta turntable? Anyone out there still know what a 45 is? A show of hands please? You there! Yeah you! Way in the back! Remember when vinyl ruled? Remember when digital data was only in science fiction novels? You, are going to like this book. The author resides in Elberfeld, Indiana, owns and operates a truck, and travels the length and breadth of these united States, moving people hither and yon as a contractor with the best van line in the country- Wheaton Van Lines. He is married and has ten kids; Jimmy, Matthew, Aaron, Emily, Daniel, Niklaus, Madeline, Christopher, Wyatt, and Lucianne... Counting...Yep, that was ten! Eight children are still at home with his wife of 27 years, Rosanna. She tends to them along with three horses, two snakes, and a cat named Mac that walks through walls.
The author was born in Carmi, Illinois, and has a brother and sister. His mother and father live in Grayville, Illinois. Grayville is where the majority of his vast extended family also hail from. The family 4th of July picnic/reunion there is almost a separate national holiday unto itself.
We Were the Zonks is his first novel, and it was over two years in the making.