Coinciding with the Nov. 4 election, Falls Church author Wade B. Fleetwood’s latest novella, “Barack Obama, President of the United States,” takes the young president-to-be and a host of regular Fleetwood characters on a mystery-solving adventure across the Pacific.
Despite an election-time release, Fleetwood had predicted an Obama victory. “As I mention in my foreword, if Obama wins the election, then it will confirm my credentials as a political scholar,” he told the News-Press. “If McCain wins, then my readers will know me as a writer of fiction.”
Fleetwood, 84, has written dozens of his trademark “Fleetwood Big Little Books,” paperback, letterhead page novellas, since his retirement from the U.S. Government in 1983.
With a long history in Washington, D.C., working at Capitol Hill and the State Department during a career that spanned three decades, Fleetwood has populated his tales with characters drawn from experiences and relationships during his government service.
Political thrillers, however, are only a recent development in Fleetwood’s writing career. His initial interest was the murder mystery, following his literary idols and mystery book luminaries Agatha Christie and Ross MacDonald.
Fleetwood, who describes himself as “a nobody author,” became a common name along the Delmarva Peninsula, in beach communities from Delaware to Virginia.
His murder mysteries incorporated the names of places and popular beach haunts found in the beach towns Fleetwood visited, and the titles reflected the town’s name, too. Fleetwood’s first novel, set in Ocean City, Md., was entitled, “Murder on the Boardwalk,” in which the action takes place on Ocean City’s famous beachfront. “Visitors would read my book and say, ‘Hey, we had dinner there, and we walked down that boardwalk,'” Fleetwood explains.
“I was outselling the New York Times Top 10 Bestsellers in bookstores along the waterfront,” said Fleetwood, who acted as his own distributor as well, running thousands of copies of his self-published works to 70 outlets along the coast.
Nowadays, Fleetwood has largely retired from the writing business as well. While he no longer carts books from town to town, Fleetwood says he would like to send a copy of his latest tale to the U.S. president-elect. “I want to send it to Obama because it was written before his election,” he says.
“Barack Obama, President of the United States,” is available exclusively at Falls Church’s Art and Frame store, 111 Park Ave., Falls Church.