Alumnus publishes book Q &A

Jake Tapley

USI alumnus Grotius’s upcoming book “Places in the Woods” came out earlier this week. He currently works at USI’s branch of Sodexo Dining Services.  The book is set in 2076, when the worlds resources have depleted and the woods carry a dark secret. 

Q: How long did it take you to write the book, and was it a pretty steady process? Or were there periods of writer’s block?

A: It took me approximately two years to write the book. The idea for the book came to me many years ago, but only recently did I put it in print. The writing was fairly steady in the beginning when I had envisioned a time period in the future where life was somewhat bleak, and the woods was the only place that the main character would encounter people in his surroundings.

Regarding your question of did I have writer’s block or was the writing fairly smooth, I would say that the plot was pretty much in place but not fully developed in its content. So, actually, I really did not have a “writer’s block,” per se, but would wait a few days to finish as I developed the story. This enabled me to write fairly quickly and smoothly with each section. It seemed to unfold itself to me while I wrote. I had an epiphany of what I wanted to unfold as time went on. The aforementioned epiphany was a surprise to me when it came and becomes the shocking mystery behind the story.


Q: I read in the brief synopsis of your book that the woods around your house sort of inspired you, but did anything/anyone else serve as an inspiration while you wrote?

A: The woods around my house was imprinted in my mind as I wrote and used it as a road map, so to speak. There was really only one person in particular that inspired the characters. There is always at least one person in everyone’s childhood or adolescence that sparks a memory that lives on in their consciousness forever. This is the case in at least one of the characters. The situaton of the scenario revolves around current speculations and fears present in society in regard to the depletion of natural resources and sinister plans, which, in my depiction, are the only possible influences that help to bring this phenomenon to its fruition.

Q: What was the biggest challenge of the project for you?

A: The biggest challenge in creating my project was being merely obscure but yet surreal in its delivery. The editing process itself proved to be major in regard to the aforementioned challenge. It is always a challenge to present an idea to the public that can be accepted even though the concept is creative in context.

Q: How rewarding does it feel to have finished your first book?

A: It is most rewarding to be accepted as a published and respected writer. This is what I feel to be the peak of a project such as mine.

Q: What do you expect will be the general response to the book?

A: The response to my book will be primarily subject to the promotion and interests in the genre and subject matter of the synopsis. As a creative writer, I only hope that the aforementioned attributes will lead a curious reader to explore a world that may very well be a possibility in the world in which we live, whether grim or potentially uplifting.

“Places in the Woods” can be purchased on for $13. Grotius said his book could possibly be sold in USI’s bookstore, but at the current time none are displayed.