John DeBlieck set his fictional crime novel in a place he was familiar with - the part of the state he grew up.
DeBlieck, a 1958 graduate of Tracy High School, recently had his crime fiction novel, "Buried in the Heartland," published by Outskirts Press.
He was at Tracy's Box Car Days celebration during Labor Day weekend and said that he sold all the copies he brought with him and just sent out a bit more.
"I shipped out 30 more," he said.
DeBlieck grew up on a farm south of Tracy. After graduating from Tracy, he went to the University of Minnnesota and then onto broadcasting school in California. He moved to Boise, Idaho and worked in the engineering department for Channel 7 television. DeBlieck also owned two businesses and was a real estate agent before retiring.
DeBlieck said he probably started writing about 15 years ago.
"I've always been interested in writing," he said.
"Buried in the Heartland" is about a man named Lee whose mother dies in a small-town hospital in southern Minnesota. DeBlieck said Lee blames the incompetent doctor for his mother's death.
"The doctor dies in a hunting accident," DeBlieck said.
Lee is somehow involved with the doctor's disappearance and hides evidence in the crime, he said.
According to the Outskirts Press website, "Buried in the Heartland" is described as "a smart and savvy thriller about the choices we make and the lengths we're capable of to hide our innermost demons, 'Buried In The Heartland' will keep you guessing - right up until the thrilling conclusion."
"It's kind of a little bit twisted, but most people like it," he said. Normally, DeBlieck said he reads a lot of non-fiction.
He said it took about eight years to do "Buried In The Heartland" from start to finish.
"It's a fun project, I really enjoyed it," he said.
He said he had a "really tough editor" in the form of an 80-year-old woman who once taught college writing.
"She said it was a bit dark," DeBlieck said.
But he's gotten good feedback so far on "Buried In the Heartland." DeBlieck said he's finished up three short stories that are ready for publication.
"So far, it's been 100 percent positive," he said. His novel is available through Barnes and Noble, Amazon and the Outskirts Press website.