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Rick Lawton is a blue-eyed silver-blond with a tall athletic build of English-German-Irish descent and a splash of Sioux. When he was two, his Irish grandmother gave him a big book and said “read, read, read.” Rick repeated “read, read, read” whenever he had a book whether he understood it or not until he was four. After four, Rick didn’t say “read…” anymore, but he did read everything from comics to philosophy to fiction. Fiction always intrigued him. How could words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, and entire books be so meaningful, important, and life-changing, but not be true in the sense that an historical fact is “true.”
Worry about this and other conundrums followed him in a checkered educational history. He was an indifferent undergraduate preferring to play poker, drink, play golf and three-rail billiards, and read non-school books. After a stint in the Army during the Vietnam War, he tested his way into graduate school, studied 17th century English intellectual history, hoping to find what an elusive historical “fact” actually was, and graduated with a straight A average.
Work history? Through the course of of his life, he discovered he had hidden skills. He was variously a computer programmer, bookkeeper, system analyst, trainer, and technical writer. When he discovered he could use the GI Bill overseas, he had a friend who knew French apply to the Sorbonne for him. He spent five years in Paris where, besides becoming fluent in French and picking up a degree in linguistics, he learned to teach ESL. Throughout the course of his life, he thought of writing fiction, of trying to create magic with words, but he didn’t start writing seriously until he landed in San Francisco in the early 90s. Since then he has written plays, short stories, poetry, and novels.
The Rex is based on his experience living in an small hotel in a gentrifying district in New York City. Rick has finished his second novel, Chasing Lazarus, which like Graham Greene’s “entertainments” is more of a fast-paced lark. It will be available in July, 2010. He is currently working on Rex Stories about interesting Rex tenants who didn't make the cut into The Rex.
Rick lives in San Francisco with his exciting and beautiful long-term companion Sally. In addition to writing fiction, he hikes the Marin hills, watches birds in the Bay, and leads plant tours at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.