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Richard J. Schneider was born in Elgin, IL on July 21, 1947, and grew up in Crystal Lake, a few miles away in northern Illinois. He thought he might become a writer in high school after experimenting with avant-garde writing, the publication of a single poem, a commission from schoolmates to write "beat" poetry for a special parents' night, and reading the complete set of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science from DePaul University in Chicago, where he was an associate editor for the university's weekly, The DePaulia. While there, he covered the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the student take-over of the university administration building during those turbulent times.
In 1969, he headed west with his young wife to ski the Rockies and find a newspaper job. He landed at the Denver Bureau of United Press International, first as a fill-in and later as the Colorado Statehouse Correspondent. In 1972, he joined the staff of the Rocky Mountain News, where he continued his Statehouse coverage as well as specializing in energy, environment, and natural resource issues. In 1975, his work as a journalist led to his appointment as a Professional Journalism Fellow in Energy Affairs at Stanford University, where he spent six months studying high level energy policy while touring major energy facilities in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
Richard left the newspaper business in 1977 to join the staff of Colorado Governor Dick Lamm and served as public information officer for the new Colorado Office of Energy Conservation. In 1980, he began freelancing in Colorado and Alaska until he and two other partners formed an interactive and creative media company in 1986. Richard has received a number of honors for his journalism and his later corporate work, which largely involved writing and producing corporate media. In 2011, he and his remaining partner closed down their quarter-century business and Richard began writing fiction full time.
Richard has been interested in writing fiction throughout his professional writing career, writing short stories, some poetry, and studying the art, including master classes (which mean large audiences) with James Michener, Kurt Vonnegut, and John Irving. In the early 2000s he assigned himself a project to wrote a longer piece of character driven fiction that intertwined two dissimilar pots. The result was the novella Who Killed Porkchop? - a bit of a screwball mystery set in Key West. He gravitates toward mysteries because he likes the mystery and thriller genres, something he picked up from his late photographer father, Richard R. Schneider, an avid mystery reader, and his mother, artist Jeanne M. Schneider, who always enjoys a good mystery novel. When the economy began tanking in 2007 and drastic changes reshaped the business landscape, Richard began work creating the character, Vic Bengston, a Baby Boomer who started his writing career in journalism, left it for the corporate world for several decades, and then returned to his first love, landing a job as a gray-haired "rookie" at his old newspaper, the Rocky Mountain Sun.
The first book in the Vic Bengston Investigation series, WATER, was published in 2012 as an eBook and a trade paperback. It has been met with positive reviews from readers (4.5 stars), who seem to like the main character as well as the somewhat cynical banter between characters. The novel introduces Vic and the two key players around him, Lt. Frank Driscoll, the top homicide detective at the Denver Police Department (he's also Vic's golfing partner), and city editor Peggy Mayer, his new (and very young) boss at the Rocky Mountain Sun. The story centers on Vic's investigation into the sensational murder of a high profile political figure, an investigation he pursues over the objection of his bosses and the police; the subtext involves the life and death struggle over valuable water rights in the thirsty West. The second book in the series, VOTE, is due out in early 2015, and involves electronic voting systems and cyber security. The third novel in the series, FRACK, is scheduled for release in late 2015 or early 2016 and involves a cold-case murder connected with the current oil and gas boom and controversial hydraulic fracturing technology.
In addition to his literary work, Richard consults with select clients to assist with their communications efforts. He is a licensed Amateur Radio operator, holding an Extra Class license; his callsign is ABØCD. He and his family live in Denver, Colorado.