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I've gotten way behind on posting these Author Profiles, so enjoy a holiday 4-for-1! Author Profiles are contributed to OTL by Chris Bacon, Mason County District Library.

CLIVE CUSSLER

Clive Cussler was born in July, 1931 in Aurora, Illinois. He grew up in Alhambra, California and earned the rank of Eagle Scout when he was 14. After graduating from high school he went to Pasadena City College for two years before enlisting in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. While serving he was promoted to Sergeant and worked as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer for the Military Air Transport Service (MATS). After being discharged Clive Cussler married Barbara Knight in 1955. They were married for almost fifty years before Barbara died in 2003. The couple had three children Teri, Dirk, and Dayna.

Cussler’s first job after being discharged was working at an advertising agency as a copywriter and then a creative director. Cussler produced radio and television commercials. Many of his productions won international awards including an award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. Following the publication in 1996 of Cussler's first nonfiction work, “TheSeaHunters”, he was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree in 1997 by the Board of Governors of the State University of New York Maritime College who accepted the work in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis.  

 

Cussler is the founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), a non-profit organization with the same name as the fictional government agency that employs Dirk Pitt. NUMA has discovered over 60 historically significant underwater wreck sites. After verifying their finds, NUMA turns the rights to the artifacts over to non-profits, universities, or government entities all over the world. In 2002 Cussler was awarded the Naval Heritage Award from the U S Navy Memorial Foundation for his efforts in the area of marine exploration. Cussler is also a member of the Explorers Club of New York, the Royal Geographic Society in London, and the American Society of Oceanographers.

Today, Cussler divides his time between the mountains of Colorado and the deserts of Arizona.

 

Clive Cussler began his writing career in 1965. His wife was working at night at the time and after putting the kids to bed he had nothing to do so he decided to write. His first book was published in 1973 called the Mediterranean Caper and featured his most famous character Dirk Pitt. Piss is a marine engineer, government agent and adventurer. The Dirk Pitt novels frequently take on an alternative history perspective and are usually a blend of high adventure and high technology with diabolical villains, lost ships, beautiful women, and sunken treasure. Cussler’s books feature sometimes beyond belief spectacles and outlandish plot devices with almost anything goes and anything is possible undertone.

 

Cussler mainly writes fiction stories in five main series, “Dirk Pitt Adventures,” “The NUMA Files,” “The Oregon Files,” “The Isaac Bell Adventures,” and “The Fargo Adventures.” He also writes children’s books and non-fiction books. His non-fiction books mostly detail the discoveries he and the team at NUMA have made on the high seas.

Similar authors to Cussler include Patrick Robinson, Dale Brown, Stephen Coonts, James Rollins, Jack Higgins, Jules Verne, and Tom Clancy.

 

So if you are looking for adventure on the high seas with bigger than life characters and heart pounding excitement as characters face life and death situations and battle super villains, you should give Cussler a try.

 

SUSAN COOPER

Susan Cooper was born in 1935 in Burnham, Buckinghamshire. Her father worked for many years for the Great Western Railway. Her mother was a teacher and became deputy head of a large school. She has a younger brother Roderick who is also a writer. Susan grew up in Buckinghamshire and did not move until she was twenty-on when her parents moved to her grandmother's village of Aberdovey in Wales. She attended Slough High School and then earned an English degree from the University of Oxford. While she was at Oxford she became the first woman to edit the undergraduate newspaper Cherwell.

 

Her first job after graduating was as a reporter for The London Sunday Times where she worked with Ian Fleming just as he started work on his James Bond novels. In her spare time she too wrote while working at the paper. She wrote novels, plays, and children books and during that time she started to work on her most famous series “The Dark Is Rising.” She also finished her debut novel, the science fiction “Mandrake,” published in 1964.

 

While working at the paper Susan spent four months in United States doing research, which eventually led her to move to the US in 1963. She soon married Nicholas J. Grant, a professor of Metallurgy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nineteen years her senior and a widower with three teenage children. The married couple had two children of their own and in 1966 Susan made the decision to become a full-time writer focusing on her “The Dark Is Rising” series and the semi-autobiographical story “Dawn of Fear” published in 1970. The novel was based on her childhood experiences of the Second World War.

 

In 1983, both of her parents died and her marriage ended . She continued to write and live in the United States. In July 1996, she married the Canadian-American actor and sometime co-author, Hume Cronyn, the widower of Jessica Tandy. The two remained married until his death in June 2003.

Today Susan lives in Marshfield, Massachusetts and continues to write.

 

Susan began writing in her childhood, but did not pursue it as a career until she went to college and worked for the college newspaper. Her first novel was published in 1964 and was called “Mandrake.” It was a science fiction story set in England and was about the end of the civilization in the year 1980. She has gone on to write many novels, children books, screenplays and plays. She is most famous for her contemporary fantasy series “Dark is Rising” set in England and Wales and mixes British mythology and Welsh folk heroes.

No matter what genre or audience Susan is writing for the vast majority of Susan's books feature a struggle between light and dark and goodness and evil. Her novels are typically set in the somewhere in Europe and feature some link European mythology. There are strong distinctions between her heroes and villains. Her heroes have strong moral convictions and fight for truth and justice. The villains are set on destroying and taking over the world.

 

There are several authors that write similar to Susan's writing style and fantasy genre. They include Alan Garner, Nancy Bond, Edward Eager, Nancy Willard, Ruth Sawyer, and Joan Aiken.

 

If you are a fan of mythology and folklore and like heroes trying to save the world from wicked villains in fantasy worlds set in the countrysides of England and Wales you should give Susan Cooper a try. Her writing style will transport you to a time when where light battles dark, ordinary folks become heroes and in the end the good always wins.

MEG CABOT

Meg Cabot (born as Meggin Patricia Cabot) was born February, 1967 in Bloomington, Indiana. She always liked to write since an early age and while she was in her teens she thought about majoring in creative writing, but was talked out of it by a random guy she met at a party when she was just 16. He was a creative writing major himself and told her if she wanted to continue to enjoy writing she shouldn't bother majoring in it because it would suck the joy right out of it. So instead she focused on drawing and attended and graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in fine arts. Soon after graduating she moved to New York City with the goal of becoming an illustrator. However, shortly after arriving she began working as an assistant manager of the freshman dormitory at New York University and never fully pursued an illustrator career. While in New York she ran into that “guy” from the party. That guy was financial writer and poet Benjamin D. Egnatz and the two of them were married on April 1, 1993. Their wedding on April Fool's Day was a deliberate play on her husband's belief that only fools get married in the first place. The two are still married to this day and they split their time between New York, Key West, and Bloomington. They have no children, but Meg does have two cats, Henrietta (a one-eyed cat) and Gem.

 

While Meg isn't writing she is highly active in charity work. Meg has teamed with the Make-a-Wish Foundation and the Starlight Children's Foundation to mentor seriously and terminally ill children. She also contributes many of her proceeds from selling certain books to various charities including Greenpeace, New York Public Libraries, Reading is Fundamental, and the UN Refugee Agency.

 

Meg started writing at the very early age of seven. Her first story was called “Benny the Puppy” and told the tale of how Benny's entire family dies in a freak prairie tornado. Since then her stories have taken on a more upbeat theme and her first novel was published in 1998 called “Roses Grow Wild.” It was a historical romance novel and was published under one of Meg's pen names Patricia Cabot. Since then Meg has used several other pen names including Jenny Carroll. She used these names in the past because early in her career she was working for three different publishers and couldn't use the same name with all three.   Today publishes all her books under Meg Cabot. Meg's latest book will be released in February 2016 and will be the latest installment in her “Mediator” series.

 

Meg has written over 80 books that cross several different genres including children, young adult, romance, and mystery. She is probably most famous for her many teen series including the “Princess Diaries” and “Mediator”. Other series she has written include the “1-800-WHERE-R-U” series, “All-American Girl,” and the “Airhead” trilogy.   Many of her books have been adapted to either films or TV including two “Princess Diaries” films for Disney and the series“1-800-WHERE-R-U” which was made into a Lifetime TV series called “Missing.”

Meg's books can be summarized as mostly “comfort reads.” They are usually pretty light-hearted with humor and a feel good attitude and a happy ending. Critics like to say she is a master of entertaining and amusing her readers. Although the majority of her books are geared towards teens adults enjoy her story telling and the interesting and memorable characters. Other authors with a similar style to Meg include Stacey Kade, Sarah Mason, Megan Shull, Wendy Markham, and Heather Webber.

 

So if you are looking to spend a lighthearted afternoon or would like to finish your day with an uplifting and humorous story give Meg Cabot a try and find out why people who need a pick me up pick up one of her books.

MICHAEL CONNELLY

 

Michael Connelly was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in July 1956. His mother was a fan of crime fiction and first introduced him to mystery novels when he was a kid. When Connelly was 12 his family moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and he attended St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Four years later Connelly witnessed a man throw a gun into a hedge. He reported it to the police, but the suspect had gotten away. The experience left an impression on Connelly and the life and work of the police. After high school Connelly attended the University of Florida in Gainesville as a building construction major.  His grades were not good, but after watching the film “The Long Goodbye” based on Raymond Chandler’s novel of the same name Connelly went home and read all of Chandler's works featuring detective Philip Marlowe. Soon after, he switched majors to journalism with a minor in creative writing.

 

After graduating from the University of Florida in 1980, Connelly got a job as a crime beat writer at the Daytona Beach News Journal and then at the Fort Lauderdale News and Sun-Sentinel in 1981. In 1984, Connelly married Linda McCaleb who he met at college. In 1986, he and two other reporters spent several months interviewing survivors of the 1985 Delta Flight 191 plane crash, which story earned Connelly a place as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. From there Connelly got a job as a crime reporter at the Los Angeles Times and moved to California in 1987. In 2001, Connelly left California for Tampa Bay, Florida, together with his wife and daughter, so that both he and his wife could be closer to their families.

 

After three years at the Los Angeles Times, Connelly wrote his first published novel, “The Black Echo.” It was published in 1992. The book is partially based on a true crime and featured Connelly's primary recurring character, Los Angeles Police Department Detective Hieronymus "Harry" Bosch. Connelly named Bosch after the Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, known for his paintings full of sin and redemption. Connelly went on to write three more novels about Detective Bosch — The Black Ice (1993), The Concrete Blonde (1994), and The Last Coyote (1995) — before quitting his job as a reporter to write full-time.

 

Connelly has written over twenty novels, but is most famous for his two series, the police detective “Bosch” series and the defense attorney “Mickey Haller” series, who happens to be Bosch’s half-brother. Many of the characters that appear in his other series and standalone novels make appearances in his other novels. Some appearing five or six years later after they were already introduced. His latest novel “The Crossing” released in November, 2015 follows Harry Bosch as he teams up with Mickey Haller as they try and prove the innocence of Micky’s client and a possible police cover up.   Currently Connelly is helping produce a TV series based on the Bosch character airing on Amazon Prime.

Authors similar to Connelly include Robert Crais, David Baldacci, Harlan Coben, John Connolly, John Sandford, Lee Child, and Jeffery Deaver.

 

The majority of Connelly’s books take place in LA with cops, reporters, and lawyers fighting the good fight trying to bring justice to a sometimes broken system. His characters are not perfect, but they are noble and try and do the right thing no matter the cost. His books are action packed and the settings are broad and wide taking readers to the grittiest parts of LA to the high end courtrooms of LA. The stories are full of twists and turns as they character fight the good fight in a city full of corrupts and evil men. So if you like to cheer for the underdog and want to be kept on the edge of your seat give Michael Connelly a try and experience the world of law and crime from characters that are not perfect, but fight for justice for all.