Dick Elam has held many titles in his 88 years of life — reporter, TV station manager, sailboat racing skipper, professor and Navy reservist to name a few.
But as of November 2016, Elam can now add author to his resume with his first novel “Anne Bonny’s Wake.”
“I turned 85 and thought I’d stop telling the truth and write a little fiction instead,” Elam said.
The new author held a book signing and art sale on Nov. 19 at the Uptown Downtown Art Gallery.
“Anne Bonny’s Wake” is the first book in his “Maggie and Hersh” fiction romance thriller series. The series features a 30-foot sailboat named after a historical female pirate, “Anne Bonny.” Professor Herschel Barstow is cruising on the boat until Maggie Adelaide Moore comes aboard and the two are entangled with the drug cartel.
The novel is set in the 1980s during then President Ronald Reagan’s “War on Drugs,” because that is when Elam started writing the novel. But when the manuscript did not receive much interest, he put it aside. After 30 years, Elam began writing and editing the manuscript again.
“Good writing is rewriting,” Elam said.
Elam has already written the second and third books of the series. He said he has finished most of the fourth book as well, and is outlining the fifth book of the series.
Elam also had his paintings for sale at the event. He began painting watercolors at age 65. After a few workshops, he has now evolved into a versatile artist.
“I discovered knife painting, and I do that better than a brush,” Elam said.
When he is not writing or painting, he is preparing to write again. Currently, he is collecting information for an upcoming historical fiction about World War II.
Elam said he remembers that war vividly. He was working on a sports page when the Associated Press wire came across about the second atomic bomb.
“I was too young to be in World War II, but boy I knew a lot of people in it,” Elam said.
Elam said like many authors before him, he tries to borrow from life experiences to make his stories seem realistic to readers.
As he resides in Heath, he continues to look for inspiration for his next story. But on the rare occasion that he is not writing, he spends time with his great-grandchildren and tries to maintain his health.
“I’m just trying to stay alive,” Elam said. “I’m 88 years old.”
Jasmine C. Johnson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.