Benedetto, William R. 1928- (William Ralph Benedetto)

views updated

Benedetto, William R. 1928- (William Ralph Benedetto)


Born May 11, 1928, in Chisholm, ME; married September 4, 1948; wife's name Barbara A.; children: Cheryl Benedetto Pataki, Lee Benedetto Martin, Val Benedetto Koepnick, William R., Jr. Eth-nicity: "Italian." Education: Attended Lamar Institute of Technology, 1967-70; Portland State University, B.S. (with honors), 1977; University of Oregon, J.D., 1980. Politics: Independent. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Chess, reading, golf, painting, continuing education, family activities.


Home and office—Wilsonville, OR. Agent—Agnes Birnbaum, Bleecker Street Associates, 532 LaGuardia Pl., Ste. 617, New York, NY 10012. E-mail—[email protected]


U.S. Coast Guard, career officer, 1946-74, retiring as chief warrant officer; attorney at law in Portland, OR, 1981-2001; writer, Wilsonville, OR, 2002—. Member of Oregon State Bar. Coast Guard assignments included investigating marine casualties, serving as shipping commissioner, port security work, and work aboard search and rescue vessels.


American Bar Association, Chief Warrant and Warrant Officers Association.


U.S. Maritime Literature Award, 2006, for Sailing into the Abyss: A True Story of Extreme Heroism on the High Seas.


Sailing into the Abyss: A True Story of Extreme Heroism on the High Seas, Kensington Publishing (New York, NY), 2005.


William R. Benedetto told CA: "My story of the merchant marine vessel SS Badger came out of my Coast Guard service. I always had a hankering to write, but life intervened. I recognized the story of this ship to be truly unique in maritime annals and filed the idea away for future reference. The time came when I decided to hang up my law practice and strike out on this writing path full time. Serendipity: I landed an agent; she snagged a publisher; and, all of a sudden, I'm doing book tours and giving talks and signing books. It is quite a delightful experience!

"In preparation for retirement from my law practice, and for writing, I carved a space out of the garage (physically separate from the house) and built an office to have the solitude needed to concentrate on writing. A typical morning: up at six o'clock; walk two miles; dress, eat, kiss wife good-bye, and commute twenty-five feet to office; break for lunch; quite late afternoon; sometimes seven days a week. Under deadline pressure I maintain a check-in/check-out sheet to keep myself honest.

"Peter Maas encouraged me to get inside the heads and hearts of my characters. Homer Hickam, who endorsed my book, advised me to take a page of writing, try to condense it down to a paragraph, and then try to shrink that down to a sentence. It helps get rid of word clutter.

"Fiction doesn't appeal to me—I have trouble suspending my capacity to disbelieve. One exception: Tom Wolfe! True stories with an unusual twist (a load of bombs roaming free inside a freighter, for example) appeal to me precisely because they would not be believable as fiction. My maritime experience turned up a few such stories. I also think stories about the sea are inherently suspenseful because ships, cut off from the mainland are not unlike distant planets, where people face peril from storm and sea with no way to escape, distant from any assistance.

"Why write? For the magic and satisfaction of putting words together to communicate an idea, thought, or concept in an interesting and entertaining fashion."



William Benedetto Home Page, (December 18, 2006).

About this article

Benedetto, William R. 1928- (William Ralph Benedetto)

Updated About content Print Article