Author Biography: Tom Clancy

Courtesy Wikipedia

Courtesy Wikipedia

Hello all! I hope everyone is well. Please forgive my lack of original posts as of late. It’s been midterms at school and I’ve had trouble catching up. This is besides the point, however. Tom Clancy is probably one of the most famous military fiction authors of the last few years. The names of his character, Jack Ryan is a household name and many of Mr. Clancy’s books have been made into very successful film. Case in point The Hunt for Red October starring Alec Baldwin. As many of you know, much to our grief, Tom Clancy recently died at the young age of 66. His cause of death has yet to be known publicly. For decades, Mr. Clancy’s novels have influenced the course and tone of the Military Tech genre of literature. Besides the many books and movies that have Tom Clancy’s stories as their base material there are also numerous games under the Tom Clancy moniker. It is hard to deny Tom Clancy’s effect on Modern American Literature.

Due to a school project I have been required to do Mr. Clancy’s Author Biography through the use of audio, rather than that of the written word that I usually use as my main medium. I’ll be the first to admit that this audio isn’t the best quality, but please bare with me this was my first time using the equipment. I hope you enjoy listening to it in the same respect I had while making it. The music in the background is that of the theme from the movie version of The Hunt for Red October

Author Biography: Anne Rice

Due to the Halloween season I thought it a good idea to profile one of the more prolific writers in the “horror” genre. While her books may not be as scary or grotesque as others, Anne Rice has definitely carved an image for one of our favorite monsters that will go on to influence many generations to come.

Courtesy amsaw.org

Courtesy amsaw.org

Not many authors can say they have changed the face of a genre as much as famed horror writer Anne Rice can. Her erotically charged romantic version of vampires is almost a must in today’s vampire fiction. The characters she created are vibrant, passionate, and sexy. Her settings are romantically classic. Both carry an almost mystical aura that most readers find hard to forget.

Anne Rice was born Howard Allen Frances O’Brien on October 4, 1941 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She attributes her odd first name (which she legally changed to Anne in later life) to her mother, who figured that giving her daughter a boy’s name would give her an odd advantage over the world in later life. For much of her childhood she and her family lived with her grandmother in a part of New Orleans known as the Irish Channel, and area Rice describes as a “Catholic Ghetto”. For much of her childhood her and her family lived poverty. This wasn’t helped by the fact that her mother was an alcoholic. When she was 15 her mother died of complications brought about from her alcohol addiction. Because of the lack of support he had at home, Rice’s father was forced to enroll Anne and her four sisters in a Catholic boarding school.

In 1957 her father remarried. Shortly after this he moved the entire family to Richardson in northern Texas. It was here in Richardson that Anne would meet her future husband, Stan Rice, in a journalism class at the local high school.

In 1959 Rice graduated from high school and completed a year at the Texas Woman’s College in Denton. After this she would transfer to Texas State College, she was soon forced to drop out from TSC due to lack of funds to meet tuition. After this failing she convinced a former roommate to join her in moving to San Francisco. Her Rice took a job at an insurance agency and began taking night classes and the University of San Francisco. On Easter break she traveled home to Denton to visit family, her she rekindled her relationship with Stan Rice and not too long later they were married. She was 20 and he wasn’t 19 yet. They returned to live in San Francisco in 1962.

Two years after receiving her B.A in Political Science she gave birth to her daughter Michele on September 21, 1966. Unfortunately, in 1970, Michele was diagnosed with granulocytic leukemia. She died two years later on August 5, 1972. Rice took this sad event hard. To cope with her grieving she turned to her writing. She took a previously written short story and extended it to become a book. This was to become Interview with the Vampire. Several publishers would reject the manuscript. In 1974 she sold the publishing rights to Alfred A. Knopf for $12,000. This was quite a lot more than what most writers got. During this time she also developed OCD which would take a year of therapy to overcome.

Her son, Christopher, was born in 1978. He would later follow in his mother’s footsteps and go on to become a bestselling author in his own right. A year after his birth, both Rice admitted to being an alcoholic. She and her husband both gave up drinking as to avoid putting her son through the same thing Rice’s mother put her through when she was a child. After the publication of Interview, Rice went on to right two historical novels, Cry to Heaven and The Feast of All Saints, which was later made into a miniseries in 2001. She also wrote the highly erotic Sleeping Beauty Trilogy during this time. This trilogy of novels is infamous for its images of BDSM. After these literary experiments she would return to vampire stories with the publication of The Vampire Lestat and Queen of the Damned, both of which were sequels to Interview. Not long before Queen of the Damned was published Rice and her husband returned to New Orleans. It was here that she wrote the Lives of the Mayfair Witches trilogy.

Starting in the late 1990’s she began to have serious health issues. First in 1998 she fell into a coma and nearly died. After this she was diagnosed with diabetes and became insulin dependent. Before his own death, Rice’s husband, Stan, underwent a gastric bypass and shed slightly more than 100 pounds. A few years later she again almost died due to an intestinal blockage. It was during this time that Rice returned to Roman Catholicism, which she left shortly after high school. This embrace came with conditions, however. She was still a vocal supporter of Gay Rights as well as that of abortion.

In 2004 Rice left New Orleans for California in order to be closer to her son, who had moved to Los Angeles. She was gone during the events of Hurricane Katrina, but continues to be a tireless supporter of New Orleans related relief projects. It was also during this time that Rice began writing a series about the life of Jesus Christ, beginning with the book Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. This would be followed by Christ the Lord: The Road to Cana.

In 2010 Rice renounced her dedication to Christianity. While she still considers herself a follower of Christ, she no longer believes in the concept of organized religion.

Wikipedia, AnneRice.com, and biography.com contributed to this post.

Courtesy godlessgirl.com

Courtesy godlessgirl.com

Courtesy AnneRice.com

Courtesy AnneRice.com

Author Biography: Frank Herbert

The most influential book in Science Fiction is arguably Frank Herbert’s Dune. Before Dune, no Science Fiction book every achieved the level of detail in terms of world building and character development that Dune so easily achieved. With Dune, Frank Herbert proved that a Science Fiction novel need not be driven by the futuristic technology the work would portray, but instead could be driven by the characters and the world (or worlds) they inhabited.

Frank Herbert was born on 8 October 1920 in Tacoma, Washington. Because of a poor home environment he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in Salem, Washington. He graduated from high school there in 1939. He had a short stint in the Seabees in the early years of the Second World War, but after a few months he was granted a medical discharge. In 1940 he entered into a short lived marriage to one, Flora Parkinson. This marriage resulted in the birth of a daughter, but in 1945 they had divorced. Not too long after this he met Beverly Ann Stuart in a creative writing class that they were both attending at the University of Washington. They were married in 1946. This marriage resulted in the birth of two sons, Brian Herbert (b. 1947) and Bruce Herbert (b. 1951 d. 1993). Brian would go on to become a Science Fiction writer in his own right and continue his father’s series. Bruce would become a Gay Rights Activist and would unfortunately die in 1993 of AIDS.

For the early part of their long marriage, Beverly Herbert would be the main breadwinner of the family due to Frank’s focus on his novels. She made money by writing advertisements for department stores. By all accounts they had a loving relationship which lasted more than 30 years. When she died of cancer in 1984 he wrote a heart wrenching eulogy for her at the end of his book Heretics of Dune which was published that same year.

Dune took six years to research and write and the final version was considerably longer than most other Science Fiction Novels of the time. It was because of its length, and Herbert’s refusal to shorten it that many publishers refused to publish the novel. It was finally published in 1965 by the Chilton Book Company which was known for mostly publishing auto-repair manuals. While Dune was not an immediate financial success it was an immediate critical success. Because of this Herbert was soon offered the job of Education Writer at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and also became a lecturer for General Studies at the University of Washington. It should also be noted that he worked in both Vietnam and Pakistan as an ecological consultant. By 1972 he was able to pursue writing as his main source of income.

By the mid-70s his novels were enjoying considerable success. Other books besides Dune and its successive series included The Dosadi Experiment, The Jesus Incident, and The Saratoga Barrier. His novels, besides discussing the effects of ecology on humanity and vice versa, also discussed the beauty of planning over the long term, the tendency for large groups of people to blindly follow charismatic leaders, and the effects politics and religion had on one another. Before Herbert many of these themes had not been explored in-depth in the field of Science Fiction.

Dune enjoyed a considerable revival during the release of its film version David Lynch’s Dune in 1984. Sadly the movie was a critical and financial failure in the US, but was a success elsewhere. Due to its failure in the home markets a sequel was not made.

Sadly, on 11 February 1986 Frank Herbert died of a pulmonary embolism at age 65. While he was never able to fully complete the Dune Series (which was later completed by his son) he was successful in changing the face of Science Fiction as well as building numerous worlds which will continue to fascinate and inspire many for years to come. Wikipedia and Frankherbert.org helped contribute to this post.