Richard L. Wren
A fourth generation Californian and Oakland resident for over 80 years–though recently moved to Lafayette, CA, novelist Richard L. Wren took a leap late in life, publishing his first mystery novel at age 85: CASEY’S SLIP (Poor Richard Publishers, 2011), available from Amazon.com, through your favorite bookstore, and as an ebook. Wren is currently working on a sequel.
His second book, released in 2012, is entitled JOSHUA’S REVENGE (Poor Richard Publishers), also available from Amazon.com and as an ebook.
November 2014 saw the release of Wren’s third novel, JUSTICE FOR JOSHUA (Poor Richard Publishers). Buy it on Amazon.com, order through your favorite bookstore, or look for it as an ebook.
For those wanting to publish their own work, Wren has composed a short booklet of some of the most practical advice (in a short form) you can find anywhere for writing and publishing a novel — also applicable to non-fiction books. Based on what he learned after extensive research and practical experience, Self-Publishing: It Ain’t Rocket Science (Poor Richard Publishers, 2012 — REVISED May 2015) is available on Amazon.com in print or ebook formats, and has been adopted as required reading by at least one professor teaching a graduate level course (and for non-academic courses).
Wren had a 61 year career with New York Life Insurance Co., specializing in Estate Tax planning for business owners. Throughout that career, he was a nationally recognized speaker on the use of life insurance in estate planning.
Born in Watsonville, CA, his family moved to Oakland when he was three, and he’s lived there ever since. He is a graduate of Oakland Technical High School and holds a B.A. in Business Administration from Armstrong College, Berkeley, CA (1949). Additionally, he has a post graduate degree of CLU from Wharton. (similar to CPA in accounting.)
Richard Wren and his wife Betty – his high school sweetheart – are about to celebrate their 65th Anniversary. They’ve raised four children and have nine grandchildren. He’s been quite active in the Oakland community, having served in the past on the Board of the Oakland Symphony, and currently on the Board of Directors of the Woodminster Theater (for 35+ years).
He started writing “Casey’s Slip” at age 82. “I’ve always been a story teller since my 4 daughters were small children,” said Richard. “Every night I’d challenge them to give me a word and I’d make up a story. Example: They give me ‘Hamburger,’ and I make up a story about a hamburger that dreamed of becoming a New York steak. I still use that technique. My stories are designed for pure entertainment. I do not have a whole story in mind when I start. I let the story develop itself, just as life does. “
As with many other fiction writers, he draws from his own personal experiences, people he’s met and places he knows. “My wife and I have owned four sailboats and sailed the California Coast as far south as the Mexican border. I have a friend that has been a well-known Hell’s Angel for many years. I have a son-in-law that was an Oakland detective, a daughter that’s approaching a black belt in Chinese Martial Arts, and a friend that was a top FBI agent. I also have a friend that was an unlicensed sailboat deliverer on the West Coast and an acquaintance that owns a very famous Chinese Restaurant in San Francisco.”
Basing characters on people he knows, and locations in his books on places he has spent time in gives his stories a sense of reality. “In my secong book (Joshua’s Revenge) the opening takes place in Yosemite. I’ve hiked all over the Yosemite back country from the valley, to Voglesang to The Devil’s Postpile. Spent many summers in the Valley and recently interviewed the Yosemite Park Superintendent for background purposes.”
Wren has also taken the time to go beyond what he’s experienced in his long life. “I’ve interviewed employees in both the Oakland and San Francisco Morgues” for example.
But more than a mere novelist, he’s also published a booklet for would-be novelists of completely practical advice. Short, practical and to the point, Self-Publishing: It Ain’t Rocket Science (Poor Richard Publishers, 2012 — REVISED May 2015) can help writers kick-start their process as well as finish up and publish their novels.
Richard L. Wren is a great example of someone who has reinvented himself and his career – especially so late in life. He’s also a model for would-be novelists, both old and young.
Now Available on Amazon.com!