Born in Stillwater, OK, in 1931, Jim is a longtime magazine writer and editor, newspaper reporter, ham radio operator, software developer, and database recovery expert. First published in Minicam Photography, March, 1949. Author or co-author of a number of technical books including Undocumented DOS, PC Interrupts, and the only one still in print, Btrieve Complete. Semi-retired since 1996, he continues his database recovery service. An avid amateur historian, he remains active in his high school alumni association, and edits its 40-page quarterly magazine, writing much of the content himself. Married since 1958, with three sons, he recently became a great-grandfather for the second time.
When did you first start writing?
I must have been about 5 the first time I can recall trying to write a story. It sticks in my memory because of an incredibly bad choice of name for the central character: Mister Farrt. When I proudly showed it to my mother and my aunt, the aunt broke out into gales of laughter and my mother was horrified -- she had taken great pains to isolate me from all vulgarities!
But my first national publication was in Minicam Photography's issue for March, 1949. By then I was a freshmen at the University of Oklahoma and majoring in journalism.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I was a "civil service brat" and didn't spend long at any one location, hence didn't learn to socialize as most kids do. As a loner, I turned to reading and found my closest friends to be fictional characters. This, in its turn, steered me toward non-fiction rather than fiction and only now am I beginning to feel able to create interesting stories.