2005 Notable Authors

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Robert Bloch
John Gurda 
Irving Wallace

Robert Bloch (1917-1994)

Robert A. Bloch, known worldwide as an outstanding writer in fantasy, science fiction and horror, was born in Chicago in 1917. However, he attended school in Milwaukee, worked for 10 years as a copywriter for a Milwaukee ad agency and spent many years as a free-lance writer in Weyauwega, Wisconsin. He even was a member of an early Milwaukee writers’ group called the Fictioneers.

From an early age, his true love was writing, and, with the encouragement of H.P. Lovecraft, he sold his first story at age 17. For more than 50 years, he wrote hundreds of short stories, 25 novels, movie scripts and numerous screenplays for classic radio and television programs such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Twilight Zone, Night Gallery, and Star Trek.

Though Bloch is known to the general public primarily as the writer of Psycho, a book and movie based on Ed Gein, he has also written mysteries, usually psychological suspense; fantasy, both lighthearted and disturbing; science fiction; and what one critic calls wry, ironic horror. Whatever the genre, Bloch frequently added his trademark wit and humor to the mix that made his stories quintessentially Bloch. In fact, when Bloch learned he had a terminal illness, this is how he told his public in an article he wrote for Omni, "I have been ranting and raving about it for years, but now I am going to do something about the overpopulation problem, personally. I am going to die...soon."

Because his writing was so well honed, Bloch won many awards: a Hugo from the science fiction community, a World Fantasy Convention Lifetime Achievement Award, the Bram Stoker’s Horror Writers Lifetime Achievement Award, a Mystery Writers of America special award, as well as numerous individual awards within each of those fields.

A quiet, personable man, and an outstanding raconteur, he was generally beloved by all who met him and was frequently a guest of honor at many genre conventions. In fact, he called himself a fan and a reader as much as an author. However, the world considered Bloch a talented, universally respected writer.

Selected Bibliography:
The Scarf, Dial, 1947
Pleasant Dreams - Nightmares, Arkham, 1959
Psycho, Simon and Schuster, 1959
Tales in a Jugular Vein, Pyramid Publications, 1963
American Gothic, Simon and Schuster, 1974
Cold Chills, Doubleday, 1977
Out of the Mouths of Graves, Mysterious Press, 1978
Night of the Ripper, Doubleday, 1984
Once Around the Bloch: An Unauthorized Autobiography, Tor, 1993

John Gurda (1947- )

John Gurda is a Milwaukee-born writer and historian who has been writing about Milwaukee for more than twenty-five years. He is the author of 13 books, including The Making of Milwaukee. This 450-page book has more than 500 illustrations. It is the first feature-length history of the community published since 1948.

Gurda’s other books include histories of Milwaukee-area neighborhoods, industries, and churches. Besides writing books, Gurda is a local history columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He also speaks at many area meetings concerning Milwaukee history. The State Historical Society has awarded him its Award of Merit seven times.

Selected Bibliography:
Bay View, Wisconsin, University of Wisconsin Board of Regents,
The Quiet Company: A Modern History of Northwest Mutual Life, Northwest Mutual, 1983
The Will To Succeed: A Centennial History of the Harnishfeger Corporation, Harnishfeger Corporation, 1984
New World Odyssey: Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church and Frank Lloyd Wright, Annunciation Church, 1986
The Bradley Legacy: Lynde and Harry Bradley, Their Company and Their Foundation, Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, 1992
Path of a Pioneer: A Centennial History of the Wisconsin Electric Power Company, Wisconsin Electric Power Company, 1996
The Making of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County Historical Society, 1999

S.D. Schindler (1952- )

Known for his skill in illustrating the natural world as well as a deft hand in illustrating in various styles, S(teven) D. Schindler has illustrated well over 100 books for children. From the whimsical to the natural world, his books exhibit a careful draftsmanship, a creative flair and a comfort with a variety of media and artistic styles - each perfectly suited to the book at hand. His work encompasses picture books for the youngest, easy readers, fiction and non-fiction.

Born in Kenosha, Schindler began drawing voraciously at an early age. Throughout his school years, he was recognized for his drawing, painting and design skills. He also showed a keen interest in drawing and illustrating the natural world. Schindler, a self taught artist, began his college career as a pre-med major but soon realized that he wanted to be an artist. He re-located to New York and, while selling his work at outdoor exhibits, was noticed by an agent. After working in textbook illustration for a few years, he was approached by an agent about illustrating a children’s story, launching his career as a children’s book illustrator (SATA, vol. 118).

The chameleon-like characteristic of his illustration style lends a constant air of surprise to those following his work. One of his earliest books, The First Tulips in Holland (1982), has a lush, full color palette reminiscent of Dutch paintings. His work on Ursula LeGuin’s Catwings (1988-1999) series features careful pen work, surprising perspectives and a keen attention to detail. His illustrations for Margery Cuyler’s Skeleton Hiccups (2002) and Stephen Krensky’s How Santa Got His Job series (1998, 2001) are packed with a wry visual humor that invites children into the story. The four books he illustrated in 2003: Spinning Spiders; The Runaway Pumpkin; One Witch; and Three Pebbles and a Song are perfect examples of this ease and flexibility in his art. Each title has a unique style that surprises the reader trying to find the common artistic thread among the illustrations in these titles.

Although Schindler "acknowledges that illustrating is not an easy career to establish," he advises young readers interested in an illustrating career to "be sure of yourself" and "draw, draw, draw." (SATA vol. 118)

Selected Bibliography:
The First Tulips in Holland, Doubleday, 1982
Catwings, Orchard, 1988
Is This a House for Hermit Crab? Orchard, 1990
Don’t Fidget a Feather, Macmillan, 1994
The Cod’s Tale, Putnam, 2001
Grandy Thaxter’s Helper, Atheneum, 2004

Irving Wallace (1916-1990) 

Born in Chicago, Illinois, to Bessie and Alexander Wallace (a short version of the original family name of Wallechinsky), Irving Wallace grew up in Kenosha. He must have inherited a love of learning and reading from his mother, who was a fan of Russian writers, because from the time he was a youngster Irving was determined to make writing his career.

Wallace’s life has been one of total immersion and devotion to writing. He went to Washington Junior High School and Kenosha Central High School and not only wrote for both student papers, he served as editor and earned at least two national awards for his efforts. When he was twelve he tried his hand at writing for magazines, and sold his first article three years later at the age of fifteen. Also, while in high school he wrote a sports column for a local paper. Following high school, he free-lanced and made application to several colleges before accepting a scholarship to Williams Institute in Berkeley, California, where he stayed for only a few short months before moving to Los Angeles to resume his free-lance career.

During World War II, Wallace enlisted in the Army and produced a wide variety of articles, short stories and screenplays while working on training and orientation films for the Army Air Force Motion Picture Unit. This put him in contact with legendary filmmakers like John Huston and Frank Capra. Following his discharge from the Army, Wallace spent several years working for film companies in Hollywood. Finally, in 1960, Wallace quit working in Hollywood and got his publishing break with The Chapman Report. From that point forward, he produced novels and non-fiction that topped the bestseller lists consistently, won numerous awards and were made into movies. His works are known for their attention to detail and often controversial topics. Wallace’s two children - David Wallechinsky and Amy Wallace - have also collaborated with their father and have writing careers of their own. In all, Wallace has produced 16 novels, 17 non-fiction works and numerous magazine articles.

Selected Bibliography:
The Chapman Report, Simon and Schuster, 1961
The Twenty-Seventh Wife, Simon and Schuster, 1961
The Prize, Simon and Schuster, 1962
The Three Sirens, Simon and Schuster, 1963
The Man, Simon and Schuster, 1964
The Plot,
 Simon and Schuster, 1967
The Seven Minutes, Simon and Schuster, 1969
The Word, Simon and Schuster, 1972
The Fan Club, Simon and Schuster, 1974
The Pigeon Project, Simon and Schuster, 1979
The Miracle, Dutton, 1984
The Seventh Street
, Dutton, 1985
The Celestial Bed, Delacorte, 1987
The Guest of Honor, Delacorte, 1989