Joyce Marie Taylor
Thirty-three-year-old Mayo native Lee Trawick is thrilled about the publication of his first book titled “Retribution”, a murder mystery about a young man avenging the death of his younger brother, but he’s even more excited that it could possibly be turned into a movie.
Trawick was born and raised in the town of Mayo and is a graduate of Lafayette High School. He went on to play baseball at North Florida Jr. College (now NFCC), but had to withdraw for health reasons. Then he joined the United States Army, but was discharged early when the health issue popped up again. He wound up going to fire college and became a firefighter/EMT in Live Oak for a short time, he said, until he failed to pass the physical exam.
In an effort to find a new direction in life he relocated to New York City for a brief time and began looking for work as an actor, but wound up doing modeling work instead.
He soon realized big city living didn’t quite agree with him, so he returned to Mayo, met his wife and became president of the local Babe Ruth baseball program. He also got back into the family business and is co-owner of Trawick Farms.
When asked why he decided to write a book, Trawick said, “I couldn’t afford cable.”
This was when he was living in New York as a struggling actor turned model. Boredom, he said, was the chief reason he delved into writing a book, plus the fact he said he has a wild imagination and a creative mind.
He said he’d work on the book for a month or two, then put it down for a while and later he’d work on it again. It was just a hobby, he said, and he wasn’t expecting anything to come of it.
“I found out in my writing that you can just get lost in a character,” said Trawick. “While you’re writing it, it’s almost like a movie in your mind. You’re just putting it on paper.”
It took Trawick four years to write the 144 page book that he self published with Xlibris last year.
“Once it got published, I thought that was it,” he said. “I thought, hey, I wrote a book. It’s fun.”
It wasn’t the end of his writing career, though, because it inspired him to write more.
“I’ve got three in the works right now, very early stages,” he said. “It really becomes addicting after a while.”
Last year on Friday, Sept. 29, Trawick was having dinner with his parents, Marty and Reba, at their home and the phone rang. It was movie producer Robert Krussenberg, who said he wanted to pitch Trawick’s book to his investors in New York City. Trawick, knowing nothing about the movie business was excited, but skeptical.
“I’m flattered at this point,” said Trawick. “Sure...yeah...why not?” he told the guy.
The producer said he wanted to fly Trawick up to New York to meet with him and the investors.
Trawick told him, “I’m married, so I can tell you right now, me going to New York City without her ain’t happening.”
The producer told him it was no problem and that he’d fly her up as well.
“I’m in,” Trawick told him.
A few days passed and Trawick got a phone call from the producer asking him if he’d received an e-mail from him.
Trawick said, “Well, I’m in the middle of a cow field and I don’t really have e-mail right now.”
The producer told him his flight information and other details about his and his wife’s trip to New York was in the e-mail and that they’d be flying up for the weekend.
Once Trawick got to New York, he said he had two minutes to pitch to the investors his movie idea based on the book he wrote.
Days later the producer called him to let him know the investors were interested. The next step was to have conversations with four or five different screen writers and choose one that Trawick felt comfortable working with.
One screen writer invited Trawick out to Los Angeles to meet with the people who would be working with him if he chose them, so off he went. He wound up choosing a different screen writing team, however, and he flew back recently to L.A. to sign a contract.
As of now, Trawick’s movie deal is still in the works with a lot of details yet to be worked out.
“For now, I’m just along for the ride and I can’t believe that a little ol’ book like that has carried me this far,” said Trawick. “It’s really opened up a lot of doors and I’ve met a lot of people.”
Trawick said what he has learned throughout this process is that it doesn’t matter where you come from, what your past is, or what people think of you.
“If you’ve got your mind set on something and you just want to go with something, then go with it,” he said. “The worst thing that can happen is somebody tells you no.”
Retribution is defined in the dictionary as punishment that is considered to be morally right and fully deserved, so it seems a fitting title to Trawick’s book, which is about how far a man will go to exact “Retribution” upon his brother’s murderer.
The story takes place in a small New Jersey town, where young Brad Hampton has been murdered. His brother Sjock Hampton is determined to find out who killed him. His obsession to uncover the truth is rivaled only by his thirst for revenge. As he sets out to finish what has been started, he finds himself enmeshed in an intricate web of lies, corruption, greed and his family’s dark past.
As with many murder mystery stories, Trawick said he has a plot twist for his readers about three quarters of the way through the book that will neatly tie everything together at the end of the story.