West High School alum turns creativity into a novel idea
Sioux City, Iowa – Marcus Jarvis’ life could inspire a book someday. In fact, he might be able to write his own story.
A 2021 West High School graduate, Marcus is already an accomplished novelist. His 567-page novel, The Potter’s Field Tragedy, was published in November 2021. A true labor of love, Marcus spent much of his junior and senior years of high school working on The Potter’s Field Tragedy.
A horror story set in the small town of Potter’s Field during the dust bowl of the 1930s, The Potter’s Field Tragedy details a deteriorating world in which the townspeople are fighting to survive. The book is a nod to Marcus’ passion for the dust bowl era.
“I’ve been interested in storytelling for as long as I can remember. Back when I was too young to write even, I was drawing out stories on scraps of printer paper in a sort of comic book style,” recalls Marcus. “It wasn’t until middle school that I started really putting thought into my stories and coming up with characters of my own. Occasionally, I would write a story down and parade it from friend to friend, forcing them to read it despite my bad handwriting.”
In high school, Marcus received his own laptop and his writing took off. During his freshman year, he submitted five short stories to West High School’s Scribblerz book, a collection of writings submitted by members of the school’s writing class. The next year, the budding writer submitted a single fifty-page novelette to the Scribblerz book.
“One of the five stories I submitted to the Scribblerz book my freshman year was titled “The Dirty Thirties.” It was the prototype of what would eventually become The Potter’s Field Tragedy,” says Marcus. “During my junior year, I decided to re-write “The Dirty Thirties.” It was the birthday of one of my friends, and she always wanted me to write a horror story. I told myself it wouldn’t take more than three months to complete.”
Three years later, Marcus completed work on The Potter’s Field Tragedy and learned the ups and downs of the publishing process firsthand. Within the first month of its publication, The Potter’s Field Tragedy had more than 50 sales.
“I would have never guessed I’d sell more than 50 books in total, let alone within the first month. The whole publication process was a roller coaster, and I loved it,” says Marcus.
In addition to writing, Marcus is attending Western Iowa Tech Community College with the aspiration of becoming a high school English teacher. It is a goal inspired by his high school social skills teacher, Ben Nelson.
“Mr. Nelson really was one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He was one of the first social skills teachers I’ve ever had who actually knew and got along with his students. He completely renewed my faith in social skills teachers,” says Marcus. “I have autism and have been attending social skills classes since kindergarten. Mr. Nelson laughed with his students. He’s just an all-around cool guy.”
As Marcus eyes the future as a teacher, he is also working on his second book. Despite the success of The Potter’s Field Tragedy, Marcus says his new book won’t be a sequel.
“The next book I plan on writing will be much more warm-hearted. I’m working on it now, and it’s coming along perfectly. At this rate, it’ll be published by the end of next year,” adds Marcus.
And, don’t expect his work to end there. His fans will be relieved to hear he has an entire list of book ideas in his back pocket.
“I plan on writing for a long time. It’ll be at least 10 novels before I begin running low on ideas. And even then, I’m sure by the time those 10 are written, I’ll have a whole new bookshelf worth of stories to tell.”