Author R.L. Stuemke
I was born and raised in Merrill, a town in north-central Wisconsin, in a family where books were valued and reading was encouraged, as was anything that used the imagination. I started writing my own stories when I was in first or second grade, with a western called ‘Horse Thieves at Star Ranch’, and it has been a favorite avocation ever since. I graduated from high school in 1970, and moved on to the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, with a major in English and a minor in History, hoping for a career in publishing. However, a lack of effective career counseling left me severely unqualified for most entry positions in that field after graduation in 1974. I spent a year in northwestern Kansas as a volunteer for VISTA, or Volunteers in Service to America. After an unsuccessful attempt at re-enlisting, I went back home.
I spent a year in Merrill working part-time and trying to decide what career goal to aim for. I took several state civil service exams, and one resulted in a position as a Library Assistant at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, where I started work in 1977, and I’ve been here ever since. In the late 1980’s I became the library’s first Stacks Manager, a position I still hold, although it has changed a great deal over 20 years.
1977 saw more than the start of my library career. That year brought another major change in my life, started largely by a movie called ‘Star Wars’. My love of that film brought me new friends who really introduced me to science fiction and fantasy literature, which I had pretty much ignored up to that point, except for enjoying the original ‘Star Trek’ series, and ‘Space: 1999’. They also drew me into organized fandom, attending conventions, sitting on panels, working the art shows – and writing for fanzines! I wasn’t the only person who liked writing stories based on TV shows and movies, and there were lots of people who wanted to read them! Happy Happy Joy Joy!
I spent the next 20 years writing stories in such universes as Star Wars, Indiana Jones, the original Battlestar:Galactica, Willow, and up through SeaQuest and Space: Above and Beyond. I also wrote several original fantasy stories, printed, like the derivate fiction, in multi-media fanzines such as ‘Shadowstar’, ‘Fortune and Glory’, and ‘What You Fancy’. In the 90’s, I began to move into some other genres, returning to Westerns with stories based on Bordertown and the two weekly Lonesome Dove series, and then trying contemporary, with stories based on ER, to be posted online rather than published in print ‘zines. Oddly enough, it was the ER stories that led me to first experiment with paranormal romance, the genre-bending fiction that has now gotten me into professional publication. I have dreamed about it since that first 4-page, handwritten story about horse thieves, scrawled down by a child on her front porch some 45-50 years ago, and now, finally, the dream is coming true.
I believe that some of the most inventive literature currently in print fits into the paranormal category, and certainly a lot of my favorite authors write paranormals: Laurel Hamilton, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Charlaine Harris, Christine Feehan, and Kim Harrison. Some of Nora Roberts’ novels also fit this category, and reading those led me to try her J.D. Robb ‘In Death’ series, some more genre-bending fiction of the absolute highest quality. I still love fantasy, and intend to write more of it eventually, and some science fiction as well, but presently, paranormal romance has my greatest attention. I only hope that I can create some small additions to this intriguing school of original fiction. I certainly intend to try.
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