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Author Chris Colston

IT WAS JUST AN EMPTY GLASS BOTTLE stinking of cheap liquor, tossed into some bushes under the base of an electric transmission tower.

The kids living in the growing subdivision would huddle inside the base of the tower and it served as a kind of de facto "fort." The night before some of them must have had a party. They left their evidence behind.

 

The next morning, 10-year-old Chris Colston and his bicycle-riding buddies stopped for a midsummer break inside the tower, and they took turns putting their noses up to the bottle to catch a whiff of the alcohol. It was horrible, rot-gut stuff, but it sparked an idea in Colston's mind. That afternoon he wrote about all sorts of assorted stenches he encountered in the neighborhood: the liquor bottle, a friend's breath, a local skunk terrorizing the neighborhood, and the poop left in yards from the local dogs (yes, back then, the dogs roamed free). So, you could say Mr. Colston's first book stunk. He wrote it long-hand on white copy paper, accompanied by quick drawings. He stapled it all together, used colored markers to create a cover, and then showed it to his friends.

The books about his neighborhood pals led to a junior-high joint venture with neighbor Jed Thomas, a mystery book based on the Alfred Hitchcock "Three Investigators" series. Colston and Thomas had copies of The Riddle of the Pirate's Gold mimeographed and sold them to classmates for a nickel.

Black-and-white horror movies fascinated Colston as a child, and when he turned 12 he became an avid subscriber to two Warren publications, Creepy and Famous Monsters of Filmland. Creepy, in particular, left an indelible mark on his pysche, leading to the psychological horror thriller, I Am the Wolf Man.

At the same time he also became an avid sports fan. He went on to become an award-winning sportswriter for USA Today and USA Today Sports Weekly, covering the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball, providing the background and experiences for his James Hoak young adult sports fiction series.

 

Today Mr. Colston shares his life experiences and his love of writing with high school English Honors students in Northern Virginia.
 

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© Copyright Chris Colston

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