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Village author set 'To Kill the Duke'

January 5, 2012
By J.T. Whitehouse , Town Crier

Poland Village resident and fiction writer Sam Moffie is eager for the release of his fifth novel, "To Kill the Duke" later this month. The book is a historical fiction with ties to the Cold War.

Moffie said he got the idea for the book from a declassified paper.

"The paper was from Joseph Stalin ordering the Duke (John Wayne) to be assassinated," Moffie said.

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Poland Village writer Sam Moffie just released his fifth novel, 'To Kill the Duke,' a piece of historical fiction linked with the 1950s Cold War.

He said the controversial part of his book deals with the Cold War and testing of nuclear weapons. The site where bombs went off were used for filming, and Moffie said John Wayne had worked there on a film, then later died of cancer.

"So Stalin did kill the Duke, just not right away," Moffie said.

Moffie enjoys using real people like Wayne and Stalin in his fiction stories. He combines them with fictional characters and bases the story around some interesting aspect of history, such as the document he had come across.

Moffie said he always wanted to write. He was born in Boston and while he was young, his family relocated to Boardman. He graduated from Boardman High School in 1978 after spending a few years on the school newspaper staff. He attended Wittenburg University in Springfield and began writing a column for the college newspaper called "Call em as I see em."

"I was the Rush Limbaugh of the left," he said.

After graduating, he said he settled down, got married and began a family. At that point, he set his writing ambitions on hold and focused on his family.

In 2006, an auto crash left him with eight broken bones -- and time on his hands while he healed.

"I couldn't do a lot, so I got back to my dream," he said.

He jumped back into the writing life with the publication of his first book, titled "Swap." The book was based on the true story of the New York Yankee pitchers who swapped wives and families.

"I brought their characters to Youngstown and made them minor league," Moffie said. "Then I just had fun with it."

He also had the perfect environment. He had purchased the former Powers House in Poland Village, which he said was built in 1842.

"It's a great place to work and write in," he said. "And I love Poland Village. I was born in Boston and I often feel that Poland Village is a lot like New England."

Moffie also runs Bill's Place in Austintown. He said "To Kill the Duke" is dedicated to the many patrons who frequent the bar.

The book was originally supposed to be released in mid-December, but when the proof for the hard copy came back, there were spacing issues that had to be corrected. That was taken care of and now the release date will be later this month. It will be available in paperback and electronic editions.

As for the next endeavor, Moffie would like to take his writing passion to a different level by opening a bookstore.

"The only thing Poland Village doesn't have is an independent bookstore," he said. "It is something I would love to open, but I'll have to sell a lot of books first."



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