Special Author Event One Day Away

child.jpgI am so excited — and I just can’t hide it — about tomorrow night (that’s Aug. 18 if you’re consulting a calendar), when bestselling author Lincoln Child will visit River City Books for a signing and a discussion about his books. In case you forgot, the event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 7 p.m. Should be a great time.

Child, a former Northfield resident, will discuss his latest book, The Book of the Dead, and sign copies. Along with writing partner Douglas Preston, Child is co-author of numerous bestselling mystery/thrillers. “The Book of the Dead” continues the engaging story begun in the New York Times bestseller Dance of Death as Child and Preston present the ultimate showdown between good and evil — set against the backdrop of an ancient Egyptian curse.

dead.JPGThe writing team also has authored “Brimstone,” “The Cabinet of Curiosities” and “Still Life with Crows.” Publishers Weekly has called “The Book of the Dead” a “gripping, action-packed page-turner.” (Tip: River City is discounting this book 15 percent through the day of the signing.)

Many readers know about these and other popular Child-authored titles. But how many know the details of his career? Since it’s likely to be a topic of conversation Friday night, I dug up a short biography:

Child was born in Westport, Conn., which he still calls his hometown (despite the fact that he left the place before he reached his first birthday and now only goes back for weekends).

dance.JPGChild seemed to have acquired an interest in writing as early as second grade, when he wrote a short story entitled “Bumble the Elephant” (now believed by scholars to be lost). Along with two dozen short stories composed during his youth, he wrote a science-fiction novel in 10th grade called “Second Son of Daedalus” and a shamelessly Tolkeinesque fantasy in 12th grade titled “The Darkness to the North” (left unfinished at 400 manuscript pages). Both are exquisitely embarrassing to read today and are kept under lock and key by the author.

After a childhood that is of interest only to himself, Lincoln graduated from Carleton College, majoring in English. Discovering a fascination for words, and their habit of turning up in so many books, he made his way to New York in the summer of 1979, intent on finding a job in publishing. He was lucky enough to secure a position as editorial assistant at St. Martin’s Press.

brimstone.JPGOver the next several years, he clawed his way up the editorial hierarchy, moving to assistant editor to associate editor before becoming a full editor in 1984. While at St. Martin’s, he was associated with the work of many authors, including that of James Herriot and M. M. Kaye. He edited well over a hundred books — with titles as diverse as “The Notation of Western Music” and “Hitler’s Rocket Sites” — but focused primarily on American and English popular fiction.

While at St. Martin’s, Lincoln assembled several collections of ghost and horror stories, beginning with the hardcover collections “Dark Company” (1984) and “Dark Banquet” (1985). Later, when he founded the company’s mass-market horror division, he edited three more collections of ghost stories, “Tales of the Dark 1-3.”

crows.JPGIn 1987, Lincoln left trade publishing to work at MetLife. In a rather sudden transition, he went from editing manuscripts, speaking at sales conferences, and wining/dining agents to doing highly technical programming and systems analysis. Though the switch might seem bizarre, Lincoln was a propeller-head from a very early age, and his extensive programming experience dates back to high school, when he worked with DEC minis and the now-prehistoric IBM 1620, so antique it actually had an electric typewriter mounted into its front panel. Away from the world of publishing, Lincoln’s own nascent interests in writing returned.

While at MetLife, Relic was published, and within a few years Lincoln had left the company to write full time. He now lives in New Jersey (under protest — just kidding) with his wife and daughter.

A dilettante by natural inclination, Lincoln’s interests include: pre-1950s literature and poetry; post-1950s popular fiction; playing the piano, various MIDI instruments, and the 5-string banjo; English and American history; motorcycles; architecture; classical music, early jazz, blues, and R&B; exotic parrots; esoteric programming languages; mountain hiking; bow ties; Italian suits; fedoras; archaeology; and multiplayer deathmatching.

Hope to see you Friday night for this special event.

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