Mitcheltree, Tom 1946–
Mitcheltree, Tom 1946–
(Thomas J. Mitcheltree, Thomas James Mitcheltree)
PERSONAL: Born October 17, 1946, in Portland, OR; married Masae Terashima, 1968 (marriage ended, 1973); married Sally Eichsteadt, 1975 (marriage ended, 1988); married Laura Strand Struble, August, 1992 (divorced, 1998); children: (first marriage) Toby; (second marriage) Patrick, Jenny, Katy. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: University of Oregon, B.A. and M.Ed. Politics: Independent. Religion: Roman Catholic. Hobbies and other interests: Computers, film, theater, reading, building furniture, building models.
ADDRESSES: Home—448 4th St., Woodburn, OR 97071.
CAREER: High school English teacher for more than thirty years, retired, 2002. Chemeketa Community College, part-time teacher, c. 1974–. World Berry Players, member of board of directors; director of community theater productions. Member of Woodburn Cable Access Board. Military service: U.S. Army, Russian interpreter and translator in Army Security Agency, 1964–68.
AWARDS, HONORS: Award for best mystery by a Northwest writer, Friends of Mysteries, 1997, for Katie's Will.
Terror in Room 201, Tower Publications (New York, NY), 1980.
Katie's Will, Write Way Publishing (Aurora, CO), 1997.
Dataman, Write Way Publishing (Aurora, CO), 1998.
Katie's Gold, Intrigue Press (Denver, CO), 2003.
Blink of an Eye, Intrigue Press (Denver, CO), 2004.
Missing, Maybe Dead, Intrigue Press (Denver, CO), 2006.
Death of a Carpenter, Intrigue Press (Denver, CO), 2006.
Work represented in anthologies, including How Still I See Thee Lie, Worldwide (Buffalo, NY), 2002.
SIDELIGHTS: Tom Mitcheltree once told CA: "I write simply because I enjoy the process. I like the absorption. I particularly enjoy a creative process that has an end product, one which, if I am lucky, others can enjoy as well." More recently he added: "It has taken me a long time to have any success as a writer. Success isn't the motivator. I love to write. It is a creative process that meets a need in me to be creative. I especially enjoy writing the Paul Fischer [featured in Katie's Will and Katie's Gold] and Grant Reynolds series. The books are as much about these two characters as they are about the mysteries they solve."
Mitcheltree continued: "I have been teaching English, writing, and literature at both the high school and college levels for over thirty years. I've read so many authors that I can't tell you who might have influenced me the most. I have a fascination with writers from the 1920s and 1930s, both male and female. I'm sure I've been influenced by this group." Later he added: "Two contemporary authors who are my favorites are James Lee Burke and Peter Robinson. They, too, have characters who travel through a series of books."
In his original contribution to CA, Mitcheltree commented: "I'm a thinker. I might mull over an idea for months without ever writing a word. Eventually the story will bubble to the surface, and I have to write it. The good ideas I've contemplated for months are still there. The bad ideas stay buried. Once I start writing, the story flows, and I rarely get stuck. All that prethinking pays off.
"Terror in Room 201 is about a band of terrorists who take over a class of students in a Portland high school and hold them hostage for a 2-million-dollar ransom. The inspiration for writing it came from an event that actually happened in Israel. Katie's Will is a mystery about three beautiful women who lived at the turn of the century, were rich and powerful, and who never married. The narrator of the story tries to solve the mystery of their lives. The idea came from three women I knew when I was a boy, although the book is not about them. Dataman is about a one-man business run by Tom Walkinshaw in Portland. He is a high-tech private investigator. The public and police come to him to solve problems and crimes too difficult for anyone else. The inspiration for that novel came from my own fascination with technology and from my experience in the military when, as a technician, I spied electronically on the Russians."
Recently Mitcheltree wrote: "Blink of an Eye introduces a new character named Grant Reynolds. He is a field investigator for the U.S. Legal Attache office (Federal Bureau of Investigation) in Paris, France. Grant is not an agent, but a former Boston homicide detective with a law degree. He helps the office investigate crimes against Americans overseas, crimes by Americans overseas, and threats to American security originating in Europe.
"I write about life. I rarely write about places I haven't been or experiences I haven't had, short of the violence of course. I have become more mature with age. I am now able to see human nature from different perspectives, something I couldn't do as well when I was younger. I'm less critical and more forgiving now, and so are my characters."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2003, Jenny McLarin, review of Katie's Gold, p. 1649; January 1, 2004, Jenny McLarin, review of Blink of an Eye, p. 834.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2003, review of Katie's Gold, p. 576.
Library Journal, June 1, 1997, Rex E. Klett, review of Katie's Will, p. 156; September 1, 1998, Rex E. Klett, review of Dataman, p. 219; May 1, 2003, Rex E. Klett, review of Katie's Gold, p. p. 159.