Tony Wirt, of Rochester, released his debut novel, "A Necessary Act," in April and already is getting accolades from plenty of reviewers, on websites including Goodreadsand Amazon. His book was listed as a top pick with a 5-star rating at Underground Book Reviews, another website.
"Can you stop a killer before he starts?" is the question on the cover of the book, and it was the inspiration for the story inside.
"When I was a kid, I saw 'Silence of the Lambs,' and that movie scared and fascinated me, the aspect of profiling," Wirt said. "I ended up reading the novel version of it, as well as the book on the guy the story was based on, an FBI profiler that talked to all these serial killers and found out they all have shared characteristics from when they were growing up.
"That always fascinated me," he said, "that you could almost identify these people before they become who they are. That made me think if you could identify them, is there something you can do to step in and stop them somehow?
"This story is about a high school kid that started recognizing these characteristics in one of his classmates and tried to figure out what to do about it," Wirt said. "There are few things he tries, and not to give anything away, but I'm a fan of stories that involve bad decisions and consequences of bad decisions, so things don't go as planned. It's actually split into the high school years when he is doing this stuff and his adult years 20 years later, and the repercussions of his own actions back in high school. I wanted people to kind of have that moral question of 'What would you do?'"
Writing a novel has always been something Wirt intended to do.
"I've always liked to write," he said. "Even when I was a kid, I liked to write little stories about random things. When I went to college, I studied journalism and wrote for the paper down there, stuff like that. In the back of my mind, I'd always thought I would love to write a book. I'm a big reader so I'd always wanted to do that on my own, but it's a big leap; it's a big process that's kind of intimidating."
Until recently, the timing wasn't right for him to finish the book. As for future books, Wirt says he has a lot of ideas in the works, now, he just needs to find the time to write those as well.
"I'm going to use the summer to percolate on some ideas, and when my daughters are back in school this fall, I will get back to writing," he said.
"A Necessary Act" recently was nominated for novel of the year by Underground Book Review.
"It's pretty exciting," he said. "It was a good way to start Memorial Day, finding out that I was nominated for that. It's going to be interesting to work on a follow-up — it's like a band's album. They say you have your whole life to do your first album, then you have one year to do your second album; that's kind of what this feels like. I've had all this time to work on this first book, and now, I feel I have to quick get going on the next one."
"A Necessary Act" is available for purchase online and to check out from the Rochester Public Library.
Want to learn more about Wirt? Check out his website, www.tonywirt.com.