Former Alexandrian writes hometown thriller
Alexandria alumnus releases a book with his hometown as the setting.
Spencer Jacobson said he could envision a birdseye view of Alexandria while writing drafts of his book, imagining where new places would be in relation to the city’s landmarks from the chain of lakes to Big Ole.
Jacobson, a 2010 Alexandria Area High School graduate, recently released his first novel, “Frozen Reaction” through A15 Publishing.
Using a realistic setting that he could recall from memory helped when creating a fictional storyline, Jacobson said. He called it the “write what you know” principle.
“It was easy for me to write and frame the setting,” he said. “I don’t think there’s anywhere else I’ve spent more time than Alexandria.”
“Frozen Reaction” is a crime thriller, and the main character is the county sheriff, Gerry Erickson. Erickson stumbles upon a conspiracy and a private company offers to help him. He must keep his community safe, figure out the mystery and maintain his sanity.
Putting in the time
Jacobson came up with the idea for the book 10 years ago, but he didn’t start putting pen to paper until 2015. He said he was inspired by a combination of his past experiences being in the military, working with various companies, watching TV and reading books.
“I just got this great idea for a story in my head, and I couldn’t get rid of it, so I just started writing,” Jacobson said.
In a gap year before starting his master’s degree, Jacobson blogged, journaled and started drafts of this book in his free time. He thought of the exposition and resolution right away, but it took longer to figure out what would go in between.
He self-published his first children’s book, “The Hungriest Girl,” while waiting to receive edits for his novel. As Jacobson developed “Frozen Reaction,” he realized longform writing was something he wanted to do more in the future.
“I didn’t start out writing it thinking I was going to be an author,” he said. “But that’s what it morphed into.”
Help along the way
Jacobson moved to the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., 10 days after graduating from high school. He was commissioned as an officer in May 2014. Now, he’s a contracting officer at the Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass.
His freshman science teacher in Alexandria, Keith Hoeschen, was one of the people who encouraged Jacobson to pursue this path.
“He was very adamant in turning in work that was high quality and would go out of his way to seek advice from teachers and other adults as to how he could improve himself at a higher level,” Hoeschen said.
Jacobson’s hard work and attentiveness to detail when completing projects and pursuing further education at a military academy was clear to Hoeschen.
“When you have a student that excels and achieves the high goals that they set for themselves, it’s truly gratifying,” Hoeschen said. “It’s nice to see that, but the credit goes to Spencer. He kept his nose to the grindstone and worked very hard to get where he’s at right now, and I could see that in him from a very young age.”
A proud father
Spencer Jacobson considered his father, Tom Jacobson, to be his first editor.
“Spencer has always been a prolific reader and writer and always had a really good voice,” his father said.
Tom Jacobson said he began editing his son’s work “when it started to really matter” in grade school, from middle school reports to advanced placement history essays. He even looked over an initial manuscript of his son’s novel.
“Just to have him see it through from start to finish and actually get it in print and get it out there and to see it on Amazon and actually physically hold the book in my hand when my copy came,” he said. “I’m very proud of him. It was great to see him accomplish that.”