Abresch, Peter E. 1931-
ABRESCH, Peter E. 1931-
PERSONAL: Born June 15, 1931, in Long Branch, NJ; son of William G. (a railroad brake operator) and Gertrude (a beautician; maiden name, Levering) Abresch; married Annemarie Lang, October 22, 1960; children: Peter E., Jr., Joseph, Marc, Christopher, Stefan. Ethnicity: "German/Irish." Education: Texas Western College, B.A. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Roman Catholic.
ADDRESSES: Home and office— 4220 Long Cove Ct., Port Republic, MD 20676. E-mail— [email protected]
CAREER: Retired from federal service as a geodesist and computer programmer.
MEMBER: American Association of Retired Persons, National Association of Retired Federal Employees.
Bloody Bonsai, Write Way Publications (Aurora, CO), 1998.
Killing Thyme, Write Way Publications (Aurora, CO), 1998.
Tip-a-Canoe, Write Way Publications (Aurora, CO), 2001.
Painted Lady, Intrigue Press (Denver, CO), 2003.
Easy Reading Writing: Easy Reading about Writing Easy Reading, Scrivenery Press (Houston, TX), 2001.
Deadly Morsels (4 Novels in 1) (contains Sheep in Wolf's Clothing), Worldwide Mystery (New York, NY), 2003.
Contributor to Analog.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Two works of fiction, Capitol Coven and Ping Pong.
SIDELIGHTS: Peter E. Abresch began his writing career late in life, publishing his first novel when he was sixty-seven years old. Prior to that, he had traveled throughout the world in the service of the United States government, visiting Europe, Africa, Japan, Australia, Southeast Asia, and Taiwan doing surveying work. On his Web site, he describes traveling through "places with civilizations four and five thousand years old, and places where they still lived in the jungle." In addition to his work, Abresch explored the art of bonsai, took charge of various church programs, constructed a house for his family, and built three sailboats.
Abresch found his niche in the mystery world with the publication of his first book, Bloody Bonsai. In it, widower James Dandy is coaxed into going on a vacation to a hostel for senior citizens. Dandy is not only astounded to find a dead busboy who has been stabbed with a bonsai tree, he is appalled to find himself considered the prime suspect in the killing. Dandy's new love interest, widow Dodie Swisher, urges him to team up with her and track down the real killer. In Killing Thyme, Dandy and Swisher join forces again. Expecting to learn a little about the art of cooking at the Flavors of the Mediterranean Elderhostel, they find instead that several of the chefs teaching the class have perished from eating their own food. The retirees stumble upon another corpse in the series' third installment, Tip-a-Canoe. In this story, Dandy and Swisher are canoeing in a South Carolina swamp when they make the grisly discovery that sets them off on another adventure.
Abresch once told CA: "I write because it keeps me out of bars. More seriously, when a beautiful phrase comes out of the ether, it's like being touched by God. I am not sure that any one person influences what I write. What I really like to write did not sell, so I went after a targeted niche, bonsai enthusiasts and those who go on 'Elderhostels.' It seems to have worked. My first novel was published.
"I always write my first draft all the way through. Now I know I have a novel. If I continually rewrite as I go along, I'll never get to the end. After the first draft, I make a complete outline for each character, the depth depending on the character's importance. I go through the second draft, straightening places and events that changed while I was plowing through the first draft, and at the same time adding bits and pieces from my character outlines. In the third and fourth drafts, I 'work in' my characters more heavily, smooth out the narrative, and work on dialogue. About this time I'll print out my first hard copy. I am always disappointed in it. For some reason, things pop out on paper that looked great on the monitor. Armed with corrections, I make my final draft, which I send off to my editor."
Abresch commented on his working style on his Web site: "My writing day usually starts around six in the morning and continues, stopping only for coffee breaks, until eleven. Depending. If I'm into first drafts my imagination goes flatter quicker and I look for excuses to quit around ten. If I'm rewriting I'm more disciplined. After exercising—I go at it hot and heavy an hour a day—lunch, and a nap, I'm back on the computer at two-thirty and continue to six. After dinner, I often go back for another hour or two."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Peter Abresch Home Page,http://www.elderhostelmysteries.com/ (July 28, 2003).*