Shrewsbury author Jessica Buck has been writing in different professions for much of her adult life. Publicity, news, features, brochures and — yes — short stories.
Writing since the 1970s, Buck tucked away her short stories into a desk drawer until her daughter, Molly, encouraged her to publish. Buck debuted her first novel, “Makeshift Christmas,” in 2007.
Her most recent release, published in October, is “The Departure: Science Fiction or Prophecy?” In the book’s futuristic society, set in 2050, adults diagnosed as terminally ill are given the option of assisted suicide over enduring a slow, painful death. The novel follows a family as it prepares for the father’s “departure.”
“‘The Departure’ started out as a short story,” Buck said. “I kept embellishing characters, adding more depth, and it evolved into a novelette.”
Her idea came from listening to different arguments about assisted suicide and considering the moral conflicts that came along with being given that choice, Buck said. But despite the book’s subtitle, she said she’s not trying to condone or speak against euthanasia.
“I won’t see it in my lifetime — I’m 70 years old,” Buck said. “But I think my children will. People will be given a choice of whether to linger.”
Buck wrote the novel over a three-year period, with editing help from her daughter. She found the book’s futuristic spin to be one of the greatest challenges.
“It was very difficult because I had to (be) very technical about dates and times and ages,” Buck said. “The kind of things you might expect in another 40 years.”
Now, Buck splits her writing time — 9 a.m. to noon, three days a week — between a self-help book on retaining information and an “emotionally packed” novel. She’s also planning to hold book signings for “The Departure” in January. Check back for details as they become available.
Name: Jessica Mary Buck
Lives in: Shrewsbury
Family: Husband, Daniel Eckerd; five children
Occupation: Retired, medical stenographer
Hobbies: Playing music
To purchase: “The Departure” can be ordered online at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and Books-a-Million. It is also in stock at Books-a-Million in Springettsbury Township
More: Read about Buck’s 2007 release, “Makeshift Christmas”