Saturday, September 21, 2013

Presidential Panache

Jan Atchley Bevan

In this first Panache of my new term, I thought it might be fun to pick some authors from the male gender. After all, I am not a separatist by any means. These authors come from different genres in all different periods of literature. Hopefully, you might meet someone you were not so familiar with or perhaps never heard of before.
Our first author, Andy Stack, was born in Michigan on October 22, 1935. Andy Stack's father was a physical education coach in public school and his mother was a special education teacher for developmentally delayed children. His grandfather and uncle were sheriffs in Michigan, he had another uncle that was a medical examiner and there was a cousin who was a prosecutor. After spending the summers with his grandparents, Andy earned extra money by working in his grandfather’s local jail. At the University of Washington, Andy Stack majored in creative writing. It is no surprise that he minored in criminology, penology and psychology.
All of this would lead to a career in writing crime novels. At the height of his career, twenty-six out of twenty-eight of Stack's novels made the New York Times Best Seller List. I dare say, for Andy Stack "crime (at least in the literary sense) did pay."
My last author, Holme Lee, lived across the pond. He was born in York, England and lived during the Vict0rican era. Charles Dickens truly enjoyed one of Lee's early books and purchased three stories from Lee for Dickens’ own Christmas edition of his weekly magazine. Lee, in his lifetime, was a favorite author of the founder of Victorian London's most successful "Lending Libraries," Charles Edward Mudy. The Lending Library was a constant source of promoting Holme Lee's novels. With that in mind, Lee's books always went to a second printing in London. Some were even published in America.
Thus, Lee's books are ever so popular in England; they are still being read and studied at Oxford University.

Finally, there is an interesting twist to these unique and varied male writers. None of them were male at all.
Holme Lee was indeed Harriet Parr, 1828 to 1900. . She went on to write several volumes of fairy tales for children. Although Parr never married, she found great satisfaction in her writing and body of work.
Harriet Parr lived on the Isle of Wight, where she died in 1900.
'My name is Alice, but —'
'It's a stupid name enough!' Humpty Dumpty interrupted impatiently. 'What does it mean?'
'Must a name mean something?' Alice asked doubtfully.
'Of course it must,' Humpty Dumpty said with a short laugh: 'my name means the shape I am — and a good handsome shape it is, too. With a name like yours, you might be any shape, almost.'

Louis Carroll

Jan Atchley Bevan is our President of the Jacksonville branch of American Pen Women (

This is an excerpt from Jan’s contribution to our September newsletter. She calls them Presidential Pananche.
The full text can be read on our website

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