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Williamsport man pens tale of treasure

PHOTO PROVIDED Joseph Farley, a resident of Williamsport for more than three decades, has written a novel about his hometown, St. Augustine, Fla. A mix of history and suspense, Farley’s book, “Castillo,” is available for purchase through several platforms, including Williamsport’s own Otto Bookstore.

In his debut novel, “Castillo,” Williamsport-based author Joseph Farley weaves together elements of action, suspense and history to tell an engrossing and original story.

“I wouldn’t call myself a fan of history as such or even a student of history,” Farley said. “However, the history of the city (St. Augustine, Fla.), as it presented itself, I just wanted to weave it into a story.”

For Farley, when it came time to find the inspiration for the book, he had to look no farther than his home state.

“I love St. Augustine,” he said. “I love the castle, it just spoke to me…. I figured, let’s write a little story about the castle, bring it to the forefront, include a little bit of the history, and make it a quasi tour guide… I thought that would be really attractive.”

Judging by the book’s glowing reviews, it seems he wasn’t alone in that train of thought.

While just being released this year, “Castillo” has actually been in development for quite some time.

“I had the idea in ’89 and ’90 when I came to Williamsport, and I wrote the first draft in the winter of ’90. And it languished on the shelf for almost 27 years.”

After taking up the writing of the story once again, Farley then sent it to publishers and the rest, as they say, is history.

“I did give it to my son who is an English major living in Pittsburgh, and I said, ‘You need to give this to someone who doesn’t know me and don’t tell them anything about it to see if it’s worth running up the flagpole.’ Turned out they thought it was a very good start, and we played around with it for three months before we got it published in April.”

Farley, who was born in Boston but grew up in Florida, has resided in Williamsport for more than 32 years.

“I was raised in Florida, but once I experienced the northern climate, I really loved the snow,” he said. “The fact that I could live nine months out of the year without brutal humidity was also a plus.”

Not only a fan of the climate, Farley says that he is also a fan of the community and the people.

“The people, for the most part, are nice and friendly and very, very approachable,” he said.

A Navy veteran, Farley and his wife have raised four children in the Williamsport area and are proud grandparents.

When asked about plans for a possible sequel, Farley offered up very few details, wanting to keep the surprises in store for his readers.

“It has to stand alone yet work with the first one,” he said.

Whatever the next adventure may be, readers will have to wait to find out.

“Castillo” can be purchased locally at Otto Bookstore and also is available on Amazon and Kindle. A personalized signed copy can be purchased online by visiting www.josephfarley.com.

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