‘Chasing Drew Hastings’ goes on sale Feb. 1

Comedian, former Hillsboro mayor started writing book in 1998

By Jeff Gilliland - [email protected]



This is the cover of comedian and former Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings’ book “Chasing Drew Hastings”.

Submitted photo

Drew Hastings had something he wanted to say. It took the comedian by trade and former Hillsboro mayor a while to decide exactly how to say it, but his first book, “Chasing Drew Hastings”, will be available for purchase on Feb. 1.

Hastings said the book is essentially two parts. It takes place in Dayton, Cincinnati and Hillsboro, Ohio, plus Hollywood, California. The first part is snapshots of Hastings’ first 50 years. The second part is more chronological and takes place from the time he came to Hillsboro, bought a farm, served two four-year terms as mayor, and started a family.

“I don’t think that you want to write a book, I think you are compelled to write a book,” Hastings said. “I never sat down thinking I wanted to write a book. I thought I had something to say, and I needed to get it out. Then you start out writing a book, and when you’re done writing, what your book ends up being isn’t what you thought it would be when you started writing.”

During his last year in the Hillsboro mayor’s office, Hastings said he took time — separate from his time for official duties — each afternoon to write. He was writing mostly about his time as mayor and said that, “in a very weird way it was very similar to how Donald Trump got into office. The citizenry liked him, and he ended up winning decisively, then the powers that be did everything they could to get him out office.

“… So I finished that book — it was about 300 pages — and it was pretty good. About six months after that, I left office and was talking to my editor and said, ‘Unless you’re a real political geek… or live in Hillsboro, Ohio, the book isn’t going to interest anybody, and it’s six to seven months old.’”

So he cut that part down, added it to the back of the book that he refers to as his memoir, and that’s how it ends.

Hastings said he probably put around 10 years into writing the book.

“I wrote parts of it back in 1998, then more in 2003, then it sat because I wasn’t sure how what I had written was supposed to fit together,” Hastings said. “I think I had a typical writer’s dilemma because I had a story I wanted to tell, but wasn’t sure how to tell it.

“Anyway, I kept writing and putting it aside over and over, and then about four years ago after a stand-up comedy show in Indiana, a young man approached me. ‘Hi Mr. Hastings. Just thought I’d say hello and see what you been up to,’ he said. “I was signing some autographs, looked up and replied, ‘I’ve been working on a book.’

“He came back with, ‘That’s what you told me when I saw you five years ago.’ I was mortified. The very next morning, his words were still echoing in my head and I decided to commit five days a week to this book till it was done. And that turned out to be three years. So, I owe a thank you to that blunt young man in Indiana for forcing me to get serious.”

For an explanation of the book’s “Chasing Drew Hastings” title, the author referred his www.drewhastings.com website.

“When Drew Hastings was seven years old, his father, also named Drew Hastings, left the family, remarried, and had another son, named Drew Hastings,” an introduction to the book says. “Suddenly there were three Drew Hastings, me, the one who left me, and the one who replaced me. And so begins a life-long pursuit of a name, and one long, slow skid toward the realization that we’re all just making it up as we go along.

“The son of a single mother, Hastings picks his way through suburban and urban Ohio, obsessed with proving himself against the backdrop of the counterculture of the Sixties and Seventies. He opens a paper shredding business, tries his hand as a rug salesman, even dabbles in muskrat trapping. Most enterprises end in disaster and nothing lasts long. Finally someone suggests stand-up comedy — friends always said he was funny, plus the idea of ‘Drew Hastings’ on marquees all over the country is too much to pass up. He moves to Hollywood where he flirts with fame but can’t quite bring himself to grovel long enough. And just as a dark depression takes hold, he finally bolts, buys a farm in rural Appalachian Ohio, and at the age of fifty, starts over, breeding cattle, developing real estate, and yes, becoming the mayor of Hillsboro, Ohio.”

The book will be released on Feb. 1. It will be available in local bookstores like Barnes and Noble, on Amazon, or can be requested at local libraries. Hastings said he plans a number of radio shows to promote the book and he’ll be at Joseph-Beth Bookstore in Cincinnati on Feb. 3 for a book signing. The book will be available in hardback, paperback, in digital form as an e-book, and Hastings is currently recording the audiobook version for release some time in April.

“I’m really happy with it. Like any writer, I wish I had another three months and could perfect it a little better, but the book to me is a success,” Hastings said. “And it all takes place 50 to 60 miles around the Hillsboro area, except for the Hollywood part.”

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.


This is the cover of comedian and former Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings’ book “Chasing Drew Hastings”.
https://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2022/01/web1_Chasing-Drew-Hastings-RGB-Cover-300ppi.jpgThis is the cover of comedian and former Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings’ book “Chasing Drew Hastings”. Submitted photo
Comedian, former Hillsboro mayor started writing book in 1998

By Jeff Gilliland

[email protected]