Why I Write
My writing falls into three distinct categories. The first, grouped here under the title of Senior Fiction, is “old people can have adventures too.” Sometimes it’s about solving a puzzle, as in “The Curse of the Palo Alto” and “The Lost Frenchman Mine.” Sometimes it’s about helping others, as in “Harry’s Tree.” Sometimes it’s about trying to make something of a featureless life, as in “A Prelude to Dying.” Sometimes it’s getting out of the rut at the office, as in “The Gold Game.” In all of these stories the main characters simply get out and do things rather than sitting at home, waiting for the world to come to them.
The second, grouped here under the title of Teen Fiction, is “Teens can make a difference.” The difference can be small, just to one person, a girl friend in “RoboDoc” or a boyfriend in “Sacajawea’s Ghost.” In these stories the seemingly simple act escalates into a much bigger difference to a much bigger group of people. The teen hero is the impact person and better off for it, even if he or she remains unknown to the world.
The third, grouped here under the title Young Readers, is “learning physics is exciting.” All these stories are basic mystery adventure stories in which the characters and the reader too, must learn and apply a basic principle of Newtonian Physics to survive and solve the mystery. In “Mystery Spot,” the principle is magnetism. In “Evil Eye” it is optics. In “Maniac Motion” it is harmonic motion. This collection is a series, all the characters and the setting remain the same in each book. Only the circumstances and required science changes.
There is fourth group, non-fiction. This is really a subset of the first, except the retiree having the adventure is me. The adventure is creating, collecting and discussing the photographs included in the book, “Something Different.” I took my own advice and had a blast because of it.
Photography grew into biography, may granddaughter’s story to give to her host family on her year of study abroad. Biography grew into memoir with “Alex’s Scrapbook,” my Dad’s story of a Polish kid growing up on Chicago’s south side in the late 1930’s. Along the way came travel writing in “On the All American Road,” “One Lap Around California,” and “One Lap Around San Diego Bay. Then came an effort at serious history with “Significant American Military Aircraft: 1861-2020.” Somewhere in there a cookbook popped out, though my wife says I didn’t do that one very well.
None of these is meant to be the next great American novel or the definitive travelogue. I wrote them because I enjoy the creative process. They are just meant to be fun stories to read, and maybe to give the reader just a little something more.
This is me
I have read and written all my life, although I wasn’t first published until my mid-twenties, and then it was a technical article for a computer journal. I have truly eclectic reading tastes, from mystery, adventure, and techno-fiction to history, sports and science. For many years my writing focused on technical articles, I have published over 90, primarily in my field of electro-optics. Through it all I kept an avid interest in kids, coaching boys and girls in baseball, soccer and basketball, camping, and not forgetting to photograph everything I could along the way. Then came retirement, and the “doing it” changed to watching my grandchildren and combinng all those interests in my writing. I didn’t consider writing a novel until my son, Jeffrey Lake, wrote his first, “Through Broken Glass.” I decided I wouldn’t be outdone, so I wrote my first, found that I loved it, and just kept going.