Scott Reighard’s grandfather was fond of saying “idle time is the Devil’s playground.”
But Satan would be challenged to find any room for romping in Scott’s busy life: Military, teaching, writing books….
Scott has been in the US Navy Reserves since 1992. After a 14-month Navy deployment to Guantanamo Bay he returned to teaching (Aug. 2012), which he has been doing since 1997. (He was also deployed for nine months after 9/11.)
Teaching English and prepping Glenvar Middle School students for SOLs seem daunting enough, but this spring he also took two post-graduate University of Virginia courses. (He has a U. Va. Master’s in Supervision and Administration.)
And then there are his books! Recently released: His second “Andrew Keane” novel, a nigh-500-page murder mystery titled “Death in the Valley.” That’s OUR valley, which adds to the intrigue. In it “Roanoke County” Detective Keane tries to solve “a series of murders involving high-profile locals.”
The book-jacket says the case “involves strange relationships, land deals, and back-door politics.” Adding to Keane’s stress: A new partner, “life-and-death family issues and [battling] the demons of forbidden love.” Whew!
Scott’s writing process starts with scratching out ideas on a notepad, then a plot treatment to see if it will work. When he is “rolling” with it, he usually dedicates about two hours a night to writing — and is grateful for his family’s patient support when he goes into necessary “hibernation.” (Wife Jennifer works in the medical field; daughter Katie teaches at Minnick Education Center; and son Kyle is a Salem High School sophomore.)
“I do a lot of research before I jump into a story,” he emailed. “I want to be as factually correct as I can. It’s easy to lose credibility if you are fast and loose with facts, so I do not throw caution to the wind.”
He also lets a first draft “sit” for a few weeks, then goes back to see it anew. He revises and edits three or four times, then works on his ideas for the cover (“a visceral representation of the story.”)
His first book was a Young Adult historical fiction novel, “Jamestown: Journey Back in Time.” He had thought of a series based on its main character, but his attention turned to the Adult Suspense genre when he “couldn’t let go” of the idea that became “The Reunion Reaper.”
Students have liked his Jamestown book, and say it’s cool to have a teacher who writes books. He appreciates former students’ comments — and even their advice.
Aside from writing — and reading (Harlen Coben; Daniel Silva, and fave-of-all-time Hawthorne) — he enjoys hiking, mountain biking, trail running, kayaking, etc. (Such variety is one reason the family moved here from Florida.)
He writes for satisfaction, not sales (though he notes his books are readily available on Amazon and other internet outlets). His email signature: “Every day is another opportunity to improve oneself.” And — calling on “the good Lord,” not the Greek muses — Scott does seize those opportunities.