“My main character, Rance [Kerrington], is a piece of me,” Sink, a 1998 Ottawa High School graduate, said. “They say to write what you know. It’s a story of a nobody who wondered if there was more to life. A lot of parts of the book [show our similarities], like his apartment. That was my first apartment in Ottawa actually.”
Sink, Kansas City, Kan., released his first novel, “Stovepipe,” Oct. 26. The book tells a fictional story featuring a night security guard, Rance, who encounters a wounded stranger who turns out to be a professional killer. The stranger takes Rance as his pupil and the security guard is reborn into a new world of training camps, explosives and murder, according to a book description at amazon.com. The story unfolds when Rance’s life becomes at stake, and he cannot walk away.
The idea for the story came to Sink about a year and a half ago, he said.
“I’ve always been a big reader and I’ve always been interested in the Jason Bourne movies and books,” he said. “With most of your typical hitman stories, most of these people have a background in the military or military intelligence, and I just thought it would be a great idea if you took your average Joe and one day he kind of falls into the line of work.”
Once he had the idea, much of the next year and a half wasn’t spent writing the novel as much as it was compiling everything he needed for a compelling story, Sink said.
“My problem was organization,” he said. “I came up with the idea and I sat down and started writing. I didn’t know anything about organizing a novel or writing a novel. I came across an article online ... It’s called the ‘Snowflake Method,’ starting with basically a spreadsheet and writing a biography on each character, which gives it more depth. Once I got the chapters organized, it just kind of flew. Once I had it organized and had the spreadsheet written up, I had the novel written in less than four months.”
Sink, who works as a paramedic for the Kansas City, Kan., fire department in Wyandotte County, had lived in Ottawa since he was a second-grader at Garfield Elementary School, 1213 S. College St., Ottawa, he said. He also went to Ottawa Middle School before graduating from OHS. Even as a young student, Sink was interested in writing, he said.
The effort Sink, 34, put into his first novel also took much of his attention away from other activities, he said.
“Some things come to you while you are doing other things,” Sink said. “For me, it was standing in line at the grocery store. It was pretty much the top of my mind at any time. I got a lot of stuff from my wife because I was always spacing off and I had ideas come to me and I’d write them down. There were nights where I didn’t get a lot of sleep because I had a great idea come to me and I wanted to get up and go write it down.”
It wasn’t easy for Sink to keep his “masculine” self-image while writing, he said.
“I went through tough love,” he said. “My dad was a corrections officer and I went through the military, so [writing] wasn’t the most macho thing to do.”
Despite that, Sink has had more than 350 electronic downloads of the book since its release, which is self-published through Amazon Createspace, and has gotten some positive feedback, he said.
“Initially most people know me as a firefighter and paramedic, so I’ve had mixed reactions,” Sink said. “I’m still getting used to the compliments I’m getting. It is still definitely new.”
Sink’s first book signing in scheduled for 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 7 at Shawnee Books and Toys, 7311 Quivira Road, Shawnee. Although he doesn’t have a date scheduled yet, Sink said he wants to come back to Ottawa for a book signing.
“I would like to, honestly,” Sink said. “[The Shawnee signing] was the first one I scheduled and I am going to take it one at a time. It is in my plans.”
In the meantime, Sink, who lives with his wife, Kristina, and their 3-year-old son, Isaac, has three more novels mapped out, one of which will be a sequel to “Stovepipe” with a planned release in 2014, he said.
“I just started my second novel, which is not the sequel to Stovepipe,” Sink said. “It is kind of an action adventure thriller. It is about a paramedic who makes a mistake on the job and kills a patient, and his partner is going to turn him in. He actually ends up killing his paramedic partner because he has a disabled child at home and he needs his insurance to provide. The anxiety builds and it creates a downward spiral.”