Let me tell you a story about how I’m going to miss a man I never even met…
It all started with a gift certificate. I forget what holiday it was. I think it was Mother’s Day, because the weather was nice. My husband got me a gift certificate to a little bookstore in O’fallon, Missouri. I used to frequent this store, before I moved away from the area. It’s called Rose’s Bookhouse, and though it doesn’t look like much from the front, it’s a shotgun building that goes back, and back, and back. Tons of shelves. And the deals on used books are unbeatable!
I made a beeline for the “Horror” section, as I do on most visits. It’s a godsend to find a book store that represents the horror genre on its shelves anymore. I taketh what is offered to me…
This particular day I decided to buy nothing but anthologies, and I came away with 5 or 6 of them. Here are two:
Predators and Horrible Beginnings both featured stories from Rick Hautala, a name I had never noticed before. It was his story “Colt .24” that grabbed my attention. The theme of the Horrible Beginnings anthology was to collect the first published works of established authors. If “Colt .24” was the first story Rick had published… hot damn, there must have been some awesome stuff since then!
I immediately friend requested him on Facebook, not expecting much interaction. I envisioned that he would be too busy to spend much time talking to me, but I sent him a message anyway. I asked where I could find a collection of his short stories, and he provided me with some titles, and was very grateful for the positive feedback.
Since then I’ve read Rick’s collection “Occasional Demons” and his novel “Rough Winds”, but that’s it. In truth, I was just beginning to know Rick and his work. I didn’t think there was any hurry to get around to reading the other Hautala titles on my TBR.
Rick was a great guy. He shared the link for this very blog and asked his friends to ‘like’ Author Interview Corner on Facebook. He took the time to recommend and discuss the works of James Lee Burke with me. He’s the reason I started reading Robert McCammon. In fact, I think he spent more time recommending the works of others than his own titles!
I guess you could say I’m on the outer fringes of the writers’ circle on this wonderful World Wide Web. I have about 200 writers on my friends list, and yet it took me five days to notice the news of Rick’s passing. I get wrapped up in life sometimes. It hit me hard when I finally heard, though, and I wanted to do something special…
Maybe somebody who hasn’t read Rick’s work will read this blog and get to know him. Because a writer lives on in his books. A writer can stop time, capture a thought, and place it permanently onto the pages, where readers can visit it, time and time again. That’s the magic of it. So I say… Rick isn’t truly gone, not while we have his stories to read.
I think I’ll read one today.
If you’d like to learn how to help Rick’s family in the time of his passing, please visit: BRIAN KEENE’S CALL FOR HELP