Richard Stooker hails from the Mississippi River town of Alton, Illinois, warping him for life.
Rich in history, Alton provides a combination of the idyllic Illinois background Ray Bradbury wrote of; the Mississippi River and bluffs of Mark Twain; and a rich, unique history -- often violent.
From the Indian legend of the Piasa Bird, to the tallest man who ever lived (Robert Wadlow), to the assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., James Earl Ray.
FATE Magazine terms Alton "The most haunted small town in America."
Richard's childhood home stands close to the route where Union wagons once carried the corpses of Confederate prisoners who died of smallpox. At 8 years old, he first hears of James Earl Ray, (who later assassinates Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) Ray robs a grocery story owned by the grandparents of close neighbors and friends.
In 1974 a still-unknown murderer abducts one of Richard's friends from a record store and kills him. Several years later, the father of other childhood friends goes on a jealousy-inspired, mass murder spree, killing three people -- including Richard's high school class president -- before committing suicide.
Richard's over 30 years for a social service government agency gives him a broad background of dealing with both the worst and best people in modern society.
When he writes, Richard realizes the horror and joy of every day life inspire dark fantasy stories.