Photo by Dennis Wolverton/
Oregon Stater Magazine
Author! Murder Most Academic
Picture (on a Book Cover) May Be Worth (If Not a Thousand Words) Improved
Read: Panel presentation
for "Murder and the Environment"
"A View to Die For"
Pages: the History of Mystery Novels
and Writing a Novel About Whales
Ron's thoughts on "Turning Facts into Fiction."
why Ron says he has "Murder on My Mind."
about the Scene of the Crimes.
about the Thomas Martindale Mystery Series.
How to Write a Mystery Novel
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
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 Brandts 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 companys 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-Hills most successful magazine, Business Week.
From that post he covered business news in the Rocky Mountain states and
After two years there, he resigned to follow that hidden desire of journalists
everywhereto own your own weekly newspaperand 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 medicinepolitics,
poverty, and pollutionand got to travel all over the country and
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
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 writers
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.