Monday, Jun 24, 2019

Author returns to Harvard

chester parks.jpg
Author Chester Parks recently moved back to Harvard. COURTESY PHOTO

Author Chester Parks recently returned to Harvard after living in Henderson, Nev., for the last decade. Parks said he returned to Harvard – where he previously lived for a number of years – to be closer to his family. He also hopes to create a writers group for aspiring authors in the community.

Parks is not one of those authors who was born wielding a pen and paper in his hand. Becoming an author came to him by accident.

Born on the northwest side of Chicago in 1927 on the last day of the year, Parks didn’t start writing until 1975, when he and an acquaintance happened to be discussing the interesting subject of rat hunting. During the 1920s and ’30s, there were allegedly numerous rats traversing through old Chicago neighborhood alleyways. It was a subject Parks said he was very knowledgeable about. After imparting this knowledge to his friend, his friend encouraged him to write a story about it.

And so, his journey into the world of writing began.

Parks worked for Smith Corona Corporation for a number of years before retiring in 1992.

Later, he self-published several works, including a memoir “Life in the Old Neighborhood … and Beyond”; a novel “Comare, The Godmother,” a book about a gang of Mafia females; “Vampire in the Vatican,” a story about a suspicious pope; and “Hangar #3,” which tells the tale of mob bosses involved in running a hotel at the Henderson Executive Airport inside Hangar #3.

Up-and-coming works include “Blackjack,” a book about a man who knows the mathematical and technical aspects of winning the gambling game; and a story about Parks’ recent trip to Washington, D.C., with the Honor Flight Network. He served in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 1946 to 1947.

He considers his main genre suspense/drama, though he said he enjoys penning memoirs and also teaching people how to write them.

What does he love most about being a writer?

“I enjoy the creation,” he said. “I can put you in a book and kill you today, think about it for a few days and then make you come back alive. There is great power in being an author.”

He advised aspiring writers to keep on writing, no matter what – which is where his writing group idea comes into play.

He was part of such a group in Henderson and said he found the experience to be beneficial to his writing career.

Though he keeps himself busy with his stories and spending time with his wife, three children, eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, one of his most pressing goals for now is to launch the group in Harvard.

“The group will be open to everybody and every genre of writing,” he said. “We will be able to form smaller groups, and people can critique what you have written, talk about quotes and formatting and anything important that comes up.

“People should join the writers group because they will get positive critiques [to help improve their writing], not criticism,” he said.

People interested in signing up for the group can call Parks at 815-943-4811, or call Karen Sutera, director at the Harvard Diggins Library, at 815-943-4671.