Stone, Eric 1952(?)–

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Stone, Eric 1952(?)–

PERSONAL:

Born c. 1952, in Los Angeles, CA; partner's name Eva. Education: Attended college, B.A., 1974.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Los Angeles, CA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Freelance writer. Worked variously as an editor, writer, publisher, photographer, and publishing consultant.

WRITINGS:

Wrong Side of the Wall: The Life of Blackie Schwamb, the Greatest Prison Baseball Player of All Time, Lyon's Press (Guilford, CT), 2004.

The Living Room of the Dead (novel), Forge (New York, NY), 2005.

Grave Imports (novel), Bleak House Books (Neenah, WI), 2007.

Also researcher and chief writer for Streetwise Macao: A Map and Guide for the Seriously Curious.

SIDELIGHTS:

Freelance writer Eric Stone is a native of Los Angeles, California, with a love of travel, particularly in Asia, where he lived for eleven years, first in Hong Kong and then in Jakarta, a region he grew to love. Over the course of his career, he has worked as a photographer, editor, publisher, and publishing consultant, but primarily as a journalist. He started writing at a young age and was only fifteen years old when he first got paid for something he had written. He writes on varied subjects, including business, economics, finance, politics, art, culture, sports, and travel, and even once wrote a bilingual column giving relationship advice for an English/Chinese fashion magazine. Stone's published works include both nonfiction and fiction. Stone's book Wrong Side of the Wall: The Life of Blackie Schwamb, the Greatest Prison Baseball Player of All Time is an homage to his father, a serious baseball fan who took Stone to see the first game the Dodgers played after moving to Los Angeles from Brooklyn when Stone was just six years old. Stone describes the book as part sports biography and part true crime, about Blackie Schwamb, a star baseball player who moonlighted as a collector for a group of L.A. gangsters. Jim Burns, in a review for the Library Journal, remarked of the book that "Stone interweaves interesting tidbits of popular culture and history (particularly that of Los Angeles)."

Stone has also written novels. The Living Room of the Dead tells the story of an American journalist living and working as an editor in Hong Kong, and what happens when he travels to Macao and finds himself caught up with the local Mafia. A contributor to Kirkus Reviews called the book "an amateurish debut effort" but also noted that "there are moral lessons to be found in these pages."

In his 2007 novel, Grave Imports, the journalist protagonist from The Living Room of the Dead, Ray Sharp, returns. This time, Sharp is working for a corporate investigating firm. Commenting on the career change for his character, Stone told a Word Nerd contributor: "I figured that would give him greater scope for getting involved in, rather than simply reporting on, the sort of investigations that might lead to interesting stories. It allows him to be an immediate participant, rather than simply trying to affect change through reporting his observations."

Conducting a routine investigation into a Chinese art supplies company, Sharp stumbles upon a smuggling ring dealing in looted antiquities. In an interview with Lorie Ham for LorieHam.com, Stone noted: "I was a journalist in Asia for 11 years, and the book is loosely based on a story that I covered. It's a novel, but it's based on the facts of the trade in looted Cambodian antiquities during the mid-1990s when the remnants of the Khmer Rouge were heavily involved in the activity." In the novel, the trail eventually leads Sharp to a vicious ex-South Vietnamese general named General Tran, who is living in Thailand, and an encounter with the murderous communist Khmer Rouge. A Kirkus Reviews contributor referred to Grave Imports as "a Saturday-matinee adventure serial updated."

Stone told CA, in response to questions about his development and influences: "Almost everyone in my family is an excellent storyteller. I grew up listening to my father, mother, grandparents, and various aunts and uncles' tales of peoples, places, strange events, etc. and was fascinated. From an early age I started telling stories of my own. I loved reading and learned early, and always felt that I wanted to write down my own stories. My major writing influences have been Moby Dick, which I reread every ten years and always get something new out of, and Chester Himes's earlier novels in which social, political, and cultural issues and contrasts are integral to the plot. I'm interested in things that are out of place, contrasts, people who are outsiders, and I look for those things when I travel— which I do a lot of."

In describing his writing process, Stone said: "I get a rough idea for a book, then just sit down and write it. I never outline. Sometimes the story takes on its own internal logic and goes places that surprise even me as a writer. When that happens it is one of the great joys for of the profession. I write every day. I try to write four or so hours a day, but if I can't, at least an hour. I usually write in the morning, then try to find someone to have lunch with so I have some human contact, then spend the afternoon editing and doing research."

Stone went on to describe the most surprising thing he had learned as a writer: "At a certain point in a long project, a novel, the story and characters take control. There are things that you can and can't do that don't at all respect what you as the writer might want them to do. Also, fiction needs to make more sense than nonfiction. When I was a journalist I simply reported the facts to the best of my ability to back them up, and no matter how strange, unlikely, or downright bizarre they were, there were times when you could fall back on ‘the truth is stranger than fiction.’ In real life, some things just don't make sense; sometimes you never understand the motivation for an action. But in fiction you can't get away with that. Readers lose patience with novels that don't make sense."

When asked what kind of effect he wanted his books to have, Stone replied: "Foremost, I want them to entertain my readers. I want the books to present a full, rich, interesting, complex world and story that keeps readers turning the pages. I want the books to stimulate my readers' curiosity about the places I'm writing about, and maybe help them to appreciate some of the diverse cultures where I set my books. If, on top of that, some of my readers are stimulated to give further thought to the political, social, and cultural issues that I like to incorporate into the plots of my books, so much the better."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2005, review of The Living Room of the Dead, p. 448; August 1, 2007, review of Grave Imports.

Library Journal, February 1, 2005, Jim Burns, review of Wrong Side of the Wall: The Life of Blackie Schwamb, the Greatest Prison Baseball Player of All Time, p. 87.

Los Angeles, February, 2005, Robert Ito, "The Big Show," review of Wrong Side of the Wall, p. 148.

Sports Illustrated, March 21, 2005, "The Best behind Bars," review of Wrong Side of the Wall, p. Z8.

ONLINE

Dodgers Network Web site,http://dodgers.mostvaluablenetwork.com/ (April 26, 2006), interview with Eric Stone.

Eric Stone Home Page,http://www.ericstone.com (April 26, 2006).

LorieHam.com,http://www.lorieham.com/ (July 6, 2008), Lorie Ham, "Interview with Eric Stone."

Tayler Bloom MySpace blog, http://blog.myspace.com/taylerbloom/ (September 15, 2007), "Interviews: Eric Stone & Jennifer Crusie."

Word Nerd,http://bkwriter.blogspot.com/ (August 1, 2007), "Author Answers with Eric Stone."