Dallas Massey is a biologist.
Born and raised in Seymour and currently living just east of town in the Cedar Gap area, he has a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s degree in molecular and cell biology, both from Missouri State University in Springfield.
He’s also an author.
And his new book, “Fall Prey: The Hunt,” is the first in a three-part trilogy that probably can best be described as an anti-vampire adventure book.
The book is dedicated to Massey’s younger brother, Dillon, who died at the end of 2017 after a near-lifelong battle with Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy, which Dallas also has battled for nearly three decades after being diagnosed in 1995 at the age of 6.
“I was diagnosed at 6, and Dillon was diagnosed at 3,” explained Massey, who now is 32. “As you can imagine, we were close ... very close.”
Massey attended pre-school and kindergarten at Seymour, then attended school in nearby Mansfield, where his mother, Cindy Rambo, was a longtime teacher. Rambo taught a total of 24 years in both Mansfield and Seymour before retiring in 2015 to become a full-time caretaker to her two sons as each battled their debilitating disease.
The idea for a book came to Massey at the age of 18.
That’s when the seed for his story was planted, which grew over the next eight or nine years.
When Dillon passed away nearly four years ago, Dallas had the motivation to write his story.
It wasn’t easy.
Duchenne’s impacts his motor skills, so Massey’s writing often was done with two or three fingers, typically at a rate of about 20 words per minute.
“The story was pretty easy to write after we lost Dillon,” he said. “Although I really don’t have much of a background in writing, I learned as I went.”
And he had an inspiration.
“When Dillon was in the hospital at the end, my first promise to him was to write and finish the book,” Massey noted.
“I also promised to put Dillon in the dedication and then to develop a character based on him.”
Fast forward to the present.
Specifically, missions accomplished.
Fall Prey: The Hunt is the first of Massey’s three-part trilogy that includes “Fall Prey: The Attack” as the second part and “Fall Prey: The Kill” as the third and final part.
“The main character at the beginning is based on my youngest brother, Beau, as a police officer who was attacked by a vampire,” Massey explained. “He kills the vampire, and that leads to a lifelong adventure. There are lots of twists and turns in the plot over the three parts.”
How long did it take to write each book?
“It took about a year per book,” he said.
“He was very driven,” Rambo added.
“I had to be,” Massey said. “I basically promised my brother that I’d write a book for him. And I meant what I said. That promise was fulfilled.”
Sold on Amazon, Massey’s book will be on sale locally this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Seymour Apple Festival, where Rambo has a booth on the east side of the Seymour Downtown Park selling crafts.
Regularly priced at $14.99 each, Massey’s “festival price” is $12 per book, which includes a free custom bookmark for the first 120 sold.
On Amazon, his books also are available as e-books for $6 each.
An online blog about the Fall Prey series can be found at www.FallPrey.com.
This weekend’s retail sales mark the end of the line in a project that took nearly four years to complete.
“I did the formatting (for the books), and I chose to self publish them, because I didn’t want the book changed and wanted to keep the rights,” Massey said. “A Mansfield teacher edited (the books) for me, and I’ll have to say that I’m pleased with the final product.”
When not writing, Massey is teaching.
A 2008 graduate of Mansfield High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree in 2012, followed by his master’s degree in 2014. Currently, he teaches biology online as an adjunct professor at his alma mater, Missouri State University.
More books are planned.
“They just won’t be as long,” Massey said with a smile.
One project is to write a fictionalized ghost story about Cedar Gap, where he lives.
“What I did learn is that I enjoy writing,” he concluded.
“And I’d like to think I do pretty well at it.”
This week, he encourages any reader visiting the Seymour Apple Festival to stop by his booth and check out his book.
“If anyone wants to visit, I’ll be there,” Massey said.