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Oregon Stater Magazine

Read: Author! Author! Murder Most Academic

Read: One Picture (on a Book Cover) May Be Worth (If Not a Thousand Words) Improved Sales

Read: Panel presentation for "Murder and the Environment"
"A View to Die For"

Read: Bloody Pages: the History of Mystery Novels

Read: Researching and Writing a Novel About Whales

See Ron's thoughts on "Turning Facts into Fiction."

Read why Ron says he has "Murder on My Mind."

Read about the Scene of the Crimes.

Read about the Thomas Martindale Mystery Series.

Read: Sweating Blood:
How to Write a Mystery Novel

Ron Lovell

Ron Lovell has spent his entire career either writing or teaching others to write. As early as junior high school, he was always involved in journalism, editing the school paper in his first such class. At Santa Monica High School in California, he started on the school newspaper as a junior and was chosen editor in his senior year. In college at UCLA, he had enough trouble keeping up with classes that he chose not to try out for the newspaper. In graduate school there in 1960, he wrote for a number of Department of Journalism publications. Both his B.A. degree in political science (1959) and his M.S. in journalism (1961) came from UCLA.

He joined the U.S. Army in 1961 as a member of the Army Security Agency. After basic training, he was sent to Fort Devens, Massachusetts where his typing ability got him into a coveted company clerk slot. The secret training that attracted him to that particular reserve unit was forgotten, a fact he was grateful for when the Vietnam War heated up a few years later.

Out of the Army, he returned to UCLA and a research assistantship with his mentor, Joseph Brandt. The subject was book publishing and he spent hours doing research to augment Brandt’s memoir of his years as president of both the University of Oklahoma Press and Henry Holt & Company.

Despite the years on the staff of school newspapers, Lovell always preferred magazines. After he failed to find the job in his first love, political reporting, he was lucky enough to land as his first job a slot as a correspondent in the McGraw-Hill World News bureau in Los Angeles. This organization provided coverage on technical subjects for the company’s thirty-six trade magazines. After two years there, he was asked to set up a bureau in Houston where he covered the Space Center in the middle point of the Gemini program. After a year there, he was picked to be the bureau chief in Denver for McGraw-Hill’s most successful magazine, Business Week. From that post he covered business news in the Rocky Mountain states and Alaska.

After two years there, he resigned to follow that hidden desire of journalists everywhere—to own your own weekly newspaper—and bought a small weekly in western Oregon. Although he loved Oregon and enjoyed teaching at the University of Oregon School of Journalism, the experience was a disaster. He fled before running totally out of money, back into the arms of McGraw-Hill and joined the staff of Medical World News in New York. He loved covering the socio-economic aspects of medicine—politics, poverty, and pollution—and got to travel all over the country and to England.

But the academic world called again and in 1971 he applied for, and got, a job as assistant professor of technical journalism at Oregon State University. The new program specialized in what he had been doing for the previous nine years. He spent the next twenty-four years teaching technical, scientific, and business journalism along with courses in advertising, public relations, and critical reviewing. He also served as director of public affairs for the OSU College of Liberal Arts during the same period and wrote five books on writing and was the co-author of seven more on photography and mass media.

Although the switch to mystery writing was a long time in coming, it was a welcome change. The training in journalism provided a wonderful background with the requirement of writing everyday, not having the luxury of writer’s block, and meeting deadlines.

A native of Colorado who grew up in California and worked all over the country in his journalism career, Lovell now lives on the Oregon Coast in a small house with a view of the trees and the sea.