Signing day: Decatur novelist delivers personal history, truth and flare for fiction

By Austin Jackson | Published Saturday, July 21, 2018
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Page Turner

PAGE TURNER – Decatur author Sylvia Hornback displays her novel, The Mallard Conspiracy, at the Decatur Public Library. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Sylvia Hornback has always had the ability to write.

But for the most part, she focused her talents on workplace newsletters, a dissertation and articles she published throughout her career.

“Mostly technical stuff,” Hornback said.

It took retirement for Hornback to find her passion with expressing creativity on the page. It also took some prodding from her husband.

“I got tired of my husband telling me, ‘do this, do this.'” Hornback said.

After one and half years of writing, and one and half years of weaving through the publishing process, Hornback spent Thursday evening signing hardback copies of “The Mallard Conspiracy” – a book with her name on the cover – in front of fans, family and friends at the Decatur Public Library.

Hornback’s venture into creative writing is a historical fiction novel about an environmental conspiracy that tracked all the way to the highest levels of the power structure. Though its fiction, there’s truth and reality interlaced throughout the fast paced mystery.

The central characters live on a ranch much like Hornback, who lives just due east of Decatur. Additionally, she said the fiction is interlaced with facts found through extensive research.

Hornback said she’s always loved conspiracies and mysteries. In fiction, she’s been able to combine both the real world and fantasy.

“I’ve had the best time doing it ” Hornback said. “When you’re at work you’re writing it for different purposes. You’re on a schedule your not on your own time. I got to put everything into this. I never dreamed I’d have as much fun as I did.”

Hornback said a lot of people decide to write a book, but she was determined to be one of the rare writers who could say they’d actually finished. She finished, and then some.

“The Mallard Conspiracy” is the first part of a series. The main feedback she’s received after readers finish her novel has been desperation.

“They want the next one, now,” she said.

Hornback has already finished her second book. But much to fan’s chagrin, the novel is unrelated to the Mallard Conspiracy.

Fans will just have to wait. And if George R.R. Martin. author of the fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire, has proven anything, the next book in the series is often worth the wait.

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