Strickland, (William) Brad(ley) 1947-(Will Bradley)

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STRICKLAND, (William) Brad(ley) 1947-(Will Bradley)

PERSONAL: Born October 27, 1947, in New Holland, GA; son of Silas Henry (a textile laborer) and Eavleen Hannah (a homemaker; maiden name, Watkins) Strickland; married Barbara Ann Justus (a teacher), June, 1969; children: Jonathan Bradley, Amy Elizabeth. Education: University of Georgia, A.B., 1969, M.A., 1971, Ph.D., 1977. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Baptist. Hobbies and other interests: Photography, travel, animated cartoons.

ADDRESSES: Home—5044 Valley Ct., Oakwood, GA 30566. Office—Box 1358, Gainesville College, Gainesville, GA 30503. Agent—Richard Curtis Associates, 171 East 74th St., New York, NY 10021. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Author, educator. Truett-McConnell Junior College, Cleveland, GA, chair of humanities department, 1976-85; Georgia Governor's Honors Program, Valdosta, GA, head of language arts department, 1981-85; Lakeview Academy, Gainesville, GA, head of secondary English department, 1985-87; Gainesville College, Gainesville, GA, associate professor of English, 1987—. Has acted in radio plays with the Atlanta Radio Theater.

MEMBER: Horror Writers Association, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, American Association of University Professors.

AWARDS, HONORS: Regents' Scholar, 1969-74; Northeast Georgia Writers Award for short fiction, 1974; Phoenix Award, Deep South Science Fiction Convention, 1992, for achievement in science fiction; Schaumburg Township Young Reader's Choice Award, 1996; Georgia Author of the Year (children's division), 1999, 2001.

WRITINGS:

To Stand beneath the Sun, Signet (New York, NY), 1986.

Shadowshow, Onyx (New York, NY), 1988.

Moon Dreams ("Jeremy Moon" series; fantasy) Signet (New York, NY), 1988.

Nul's Quest ("Jeremy Moon" series; fantasy), Signet (New York, NY), 1989.

Children of the Knife, Onyx (New York, NY), 1990.

Silver Eyes (thriller), New American Library, 1990.

Wizard's Mole ("Jeremy Moon" series; fantasy), Roc (New York, NY), 1991.

Dragon's Plunder (young adult fantasy), illustrated by Wayne D. Barlowe, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1992.

(As Will Bradley) Ark Liberty (science fiction), Penguin/Roc (New York, NY), 1992.

(With Todd Cameron Hamilton) The Star Ghost (based on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine television series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1993.

(With Todd Cameron Hamilton) Stowaways (based on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine television series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Barbara Strickland) The Tale of the Secret Mirror (based on the Are You Afraid of the Dark? television series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Barbara Strickland and Todd Cameron Hamilton) Nova Command (based on the Star Trek, the Next Generation television series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Barbara Strickland) Starfall (based on the Star Trek, the Next Generation television series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1995.

(With Barbara Strickland and Todd Cameron Hamilton) Crisis on Vulcan (based on the Star Trek television series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.

The Hand of the Necromancer (young adult fantasy; based on the characters of John Bellairs), Dial (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Barbara Strickland) The Tale of the Phantom School Bus (based on the Are You Afraid of the Dark? television series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.

(With Barbara Strickland) The Tale of the Deadly Diary (based on the Are You Afraid of the Dark? television series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.

The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder (young adult fantasy; based on the characters of John Bellairs), Dial (New York, NY), 1997.

You're History (based on the Sabrina, the Teenage Witch television series), illustrated by Mark Dubowski, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Barbara Strickland) Frame-Up (based on the Mystery Files of Shelby Woo television series), Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1998.

The Specter from the Magician's Museum (young adult fantasy; based on the characters of John Bellairs), Dial (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Barbara Strickland) Man Overboard! (based on the Mystery Files of Shelby Woo television series), Pocket (New York, NY), 1999.

The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost (based on the characters of John Bellairs), Dial (New York, NY), 1999.

The Beast under the Wizard's Bridge, Dial (New York, NY), 2000.

When Mack Came Back, Dial (New York, NY), 2000.

The Tower at the End of the World, Dial (New York, NY), 2001.

Survive! (based on the "Dinotopia" series by James Gurney), Random House (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Barbara Strickland) No-Rules Weekend (based on the Full House television series), Pocket (New York, NY), 2001.

Has written for radio with the Atlanta Radio Theater, adapting works by H. P. Lovecraft and others, as well as writing original scripts. Strickland's stories have appeared in The Year's Best Horror, Volumes 15 and 17.

CHILDREN'S NOVELS; BEGUN BY JOHN BELLAIRS; COMPLETED BY BRAD STRICKLAND

The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder, Dial (New York, NY), 1993.

The Ghost in the Mirror (also see below), Dial (New York, NY), 1994.

The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie, Dial (New York, NY), 1994.

The Doom of the Haunted Opera, Dial (New York, NY), 1995.

The House with a Clock in Its Walls (contains The Ghost in the Mirror and John Bellairs's The House with a Clock in Its Walls), Puffin (New York, NY), 2002.

The Whistle, the Grave, and the Ghost, Dial (New York, NY), 2003.

"ADVENTURES OF WISHBONE" SERIES; BASED ON THE CHARACTER CREATED BY RICK DUFFIELD

Be a Wolf!, Big Red Chair (Allen, TX), 1997.

Salty Dog, Big Red Chair (Allen, TX), 1997.

(With Thomas E. Fuller) Riddle of the Wayward Books, Big Red Chair (Allen, TX), 1997.

(With Thomas E. Fuller) The Treasure of Skeleton Reef, Big Red Chair (Allen, TX), 1997.

(With Thomas E. Fuller) The Disappearing Dinosaurs, Big Red Chair (Allen, TX), 1998.

(With Thomas E. Fuller) Disoriented Express, Big Red Chair (Allen, TX), 1998.

(With Thomas E. Fuller) Drive-In of Doom, Big Red Chair (Allen, TX), 1998.

(With Barbara Strickland) Gullifur's Travels, Big Red Chair (Allen, TX), 1999.

(With Thomas E. Fuller) Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Chair (Allen, TX), 1999.

(With Thomas E. Fuller) Terrier of the Lost Mines, Little Red Chair (Allen, TX), 1999.

(With Anne Capeci and Carla Jablonski) The Wishbone Halloween Adventure, Lyrick (Allen, TX), 2000.

"PIRATE HUNTER" SERIES

(With Thomas E. Fuller) Mutiny!, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2002.

(With Thomas E. Fuller) The Guns of Tortuga, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.

(With Thomas E. Fuller) Heart of Steele, Aladdin (New York, NY), 2003.

PLAYS

(With Ed Cabell and Roy Forrester) The Tale of the Rooster, produced in Georgia, 1990. C.O.'s D-Day, produced in Georgia, 1991.

(With Ed Cabell and Roy Forrester) Farewell to Joe and Jackie, produced in Georgia, 1991.

The House on Nowhere Road (radio play; part of "Horror House" series), broadcast on National Public Radio Theatre, 1993.

(With Thomas E. Fuller) The Great Air Monopoly, produced in Georgia, 1993.

Also author of The Rats in the Walls with Thomas E. Fuller, an adaptation of a story by H. P. Lovecraft, 1990.

SIDELIGHTS: Brad Strickland began as a writer of fantasy novels centered on the character of Jeremy Moon, an advertising executive who accidentally travels to a magical parallel universe where the power of words is quite literal. The books in this series, Moon Dreams, Nul's Quest, and Wizard's Mole, employ stock elements of fantasy novels enlightened by Strickland's puckish sense of humor. Other early novels include Dragon's Plunder, a pirate story described by Chris Sherman in Booklist as "a real page-turner, with cliffhanging chapters that are perfect for reading aloud," and Shadowshow, a horror novel set in the author's native Georgia in the 1950s.

However, Strickland is perhaps best known for his collaboration with John Bellairs, an acknowledged master of horror novels for young adults. After Bellairs's death, Strickland finished some of his incomplete novels, beginning with The Ghost in the Mirror, featuring Bellairs regulars Rose Rita Pottinger and her neighbor Mrs. Zimmermann, a witch. Eventually, Strickland wrote several original novels that featured Bellairs's characters. Critical response to Strickland's assumption of Bellairs's mantle, along with his characters, was generally positive.

In The Ghost in the Mirror, Rose Rita and Mrs. Zimmermann wind up in 1828 Pennsylvania Dutch country when they go in search of Mrs. Zimmermann's lost powers. In The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder, featuring Lewis Barnavelt and his uncle Jonathan, an accidentally released ghost seeks revenge on his seventeenth-century murderer. A third Bellairs novel that Strickland completed, The Doom of the Haunted Opera, finds Lewis and Rose Rita staging an opera in an abandoned theater only to discover that the opera is a kind of spell that will allow the composer to take over the world. Critical response to these works was generally favorable, with reviewers assuring faithful readers that Strickland had seamlessly carried out the stories Bellairs started but failed to complete before his death. While School Library Journal contributor Ann W. Moore felt that The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder was not as successful as Bellairs's earlier novels featuring Lewis Barnavelt, a contributor to Publishers Weekly described this novel as "chock-full of deliciously spooky details and narrated in a voice that is as cozy as it is ornery," concluding, "this tale is utterly spellbinding."

With the publication of The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie, Strickland began to receive accolades for his consistently high-quality novels for young adults. Here, Johnny Dixon, Fergie Ferguson, Father Higgins, and Professor Childermass battle a legion of zombies unleashed by an evil sorceress. Unusual among the trappings of standard horror novel fare, however, are humor and well-rounded characters, critics noted. "This ably devised bit of supernatural fun . . . is perfect for the pre-Stephen King set," remarked Stephanie Zvirin in Booklist. Connie Tyrrell Burns made similar comments in School Library Journal about The Hand of the Necromancer, a novel that features some of Bellairs's characters in an original story by Strickland. Here Johnny Dixon becomes embroiled in a battle to save the world when an evil wizard arrives in town wanting to awaken the spirit of his powerful ancestor. Readers who enjoy traditional elements of horror fiction, such as haunted houses, bad weather, and the like, will appreciate The Hand of the Necromancer, noted Burns, concluding her review by claiming the story "is stylistically a treat as well, full of foreshad-owing and figurative language."

"Strickland continues John Bellairs's series with great imagination," wrote Janet Mura in Voice of Youth Advocates in a review of The Specter from the Magician's Museum. In this story, Lewis and Rose Rita decide to perform a magic show for the school talent show and accidentally ensnare Rose Rita in the evil spell of an ancient sorceress. Krista Grosick, writing in School Library Journal, believed that while Strickland had managed to successfully imitate Bellairs's style, he "even improves upon the deceased author's well-rounded and dynamic characters." Strickland's imitation of Bellairs is so complete in The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder, in which Fergie's life is endangered via the agency of a magical library book, that Connie Tyrrell Burns quipped in School Library Journal, "could it be reincarnation or body snatching?" Likewise Kendra Nan Skellen, writing in a School Library Journal review of The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost, remarked that this latest book "reads so much like Bellairs's books that [his fans] won't believe he didn't write it." In this story, Johnny Dixon's father is possessed, and only an ancient, chameleon-like book of magic can save him. The quest for the book takes Johnny and his friends all over the world and even into the underworld. "This is good reading for adventure enthusiasts as well as for series fans," remarked Kay Weisman in Booklist.

The Beast under the Wizard's Bridge is an effective mix of horror, mystery, and adventure story, according to reviewers. Here, Lewis Barnavelt and Rose Rita Pottinger are back, and along with Uncle Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmermann, they have a bad feeling about the town's plans to tear down an old (and evil) bridge. It turns out that the bridge is the only thing subduing a horrific monster capable of destroying everything it meets. "This entertaining page-turner . . . will captivate readers whether or not they are already familiar with Lewis and his friends," remarked Deborah L. Dubois in Voice of Youth Advocates. Strickland's next Bellairs novel, The Tower at the End of the World, is billed as a sequel to Bellairs's The House with a Clock in Its Walls. Although a contributor to Kirkus Reviews found this entry into the series, which takes place in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, a disappointing addition, Janet Gillen, writing in School Library Journal, called it "a wonderful blend of suspense, adventure, ghost story, and friendship that is a sure-to-please page-turner."

In a departure from his genre-fiction writing, which includes entries in the "Star Trek" and "Wishbone" series as well as the many supernatural novels inspired by John Bellairs, Strickland published a seemingly semi-autobiographical young-adult novel called When Mack Came Back in 2000. In this story, set in Georgia during the 1950s, a young boy rescues the dog his brother gave away when he left to serve in World War II. At odds with the wishes of his stern father, the boy nurses the dog back to health and refuses to relinquish him when his father tries to give the dog away again. "Strickland's strengths are vivid setting details and character development," remarked Kay Weisman in Booklist, commenting that the story lacks the fast pace or exciting action that some readers may desire. Like Weisman, Coop Renner, writing in School Library Journal, praised Strickland's period details about rural life during the World War II era, suggesting "Mack is a well-done novel aimed at a younger audience, most of whom will find the story satisfying and involving."

Strickland has also tried his hand at historical fiction for young readers, working with Thomas E. Fuller on the "Pirate Hunter" series. The first two books of the series, Mutiny! and The Guns of the Tortuga, feature an adolescent orphan boy named Danny Shea who travels to Jamaica in search of his only remaining relative, a surgeon. While not exactly pleased with his new charge, Dr. Patrick "Patch" Shea nonetheless takes the young lad on as his apprentice aboard a ship in the British Royal Navy. In Mutiny!, Danny and his uncle become involved in a dangerous mission to rid the Caribbean of pirates by staging a mock rebellion on the HMS Retribution, while The Guns of Tortuga finds the duo on the trail of the particularly heinous pirate Jack Steele. Reviewing Mutiny! for Publishers Weekly, a critic claimed, "If this rip-roaring adventure is any indication, it looks like smooth sailing ahead for an enjoyable new series." Referring to The Guns of Tortuga, School Library Journal contributor Kathleen A. Nester recommended the "fast-paced, action-packed tale" for "reluctant readers as well as adventure seekers."

Strickland once recalled, "Like many readers of fantasy and science fiction, I began early—in my teens. Like many of them, I tried my hand at writing a story early—at age sixteen. Unlike many, I actually sold my story, for one hundred dollars, to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The sale was unfortunate, for it gave me the mistaken impression that I had proved myself as a writer and need to write no more. However, after a lapse of seventeen years in my writing career, a friend talked me into reading some recent fantasy and science fiction. I liked it, tried writing a story or two, and found modest success. That led to my first novel, and since then I have been writing constantly across the spectrum of fantasy literature, including science fiction, adventure fantasy, and horror. I don't intend to stop again until I have to."

Strickland once told CA: "Coming from the South, I grew up in a family of storytellers. My aunts, uncles, and grandparents told tales of enchantment and terror involving vanishing hitchhikers, spirits of the dead wandering graveyards in the form of flickering flames, buried Confederate gold, indelible bloodstains at the site of murders . . . topics to make a child's flesh creep. However, I always wanted more and never failed to listen.

"So it was perhaps inevitable that my own stories, when I came to write them, were tales of enchantment and terror, all about flights to strange planets, wonder-working magicians, ghost-haunted mirrors, vengeful sorcerers, dragon gold and pirate booty, and resourceful young people. I'm still telling the kind of stories my relatives told, still writing books because I want to read them and they haven't been written by anyone else. Kindred spirits are important to a writer because writing can be a lonely business. My chance to work with the late John Bellairs was wonderful, exciting, and challenging, and my opportunity to write stories set in the 'Star Trek' universe was both a joy and a fulfillment for a lifelong science-fiction fan like me. My chance to write in these series made at least one reader happy: myself.

"But, of course, no writer can write just to please himself or herself. The reading audience is very special, and it's always pleasant to discover these stories appeal to others. I hope the young people who read my work will enjoy it half as much as I enjoy writing it, and it's good to hope that perhaps some of them will go on to become tellers of tales, masters of terror, workers of wonder."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

St. James Guide to Fantasy Writers, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 1996.

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 15, 1993, Chris Sherman, review of Dragon's Plunder, p. 892; February 15, 1993, Kay Weisman, review of Ghost in the Mirror, p. 1059; July, 1994, Stephanie Zvirin, review of The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie, p. 1942; August, 1995, Stephanie Zvirin, review of Hand of the Necromancer, p. 1946; September 1, 1997, Susan DeRonne, review of The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder, p. 127; October 1, 1998, John Peters, review of The Specter from the Magician's Museum, p. 330; September 15, 1999, Kay Weisman, review of The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost, p. 261; October 15, 2000, Kay Weisman, review of When Mack Came Back,p. 441; November 1, 2000, Carolyn Phelan, review of The Beast under the Wizard's Bridge, p. 542; September 1, 2001, Carolyn Phelan, review of Tower at the End of the World, p. 111: December 1, 2002, Todd Morning, review of Mutiny!, p. 668; February 1, 2003, Todd Morning, review of The Guns of Tortuga, p. 995.

Book Report, March-April, 1993, Sylvia Feicht, review of Dragon's Plunder, p. 44; November-December, 1993, Nancye Starkey, review of Ghost in the Mirror, p. 42; January-February, 1994, Patsy Launspach, review of The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder, p. 42; May-June, 1995, Norma Hunter, review of The Drum, the Doll, and the Zombie, p. 37; March-April, 1997, Charlotte Decker, review of Hand of the Necromancer, p. 42; May, 1999, Anne Sushko, review of The Specter from the Magician's Museum, p. 68.

Horn Book Guide, spring, 1997, Christine Heppermann, review of The Bell, the Book, and the Spell-binder, p. 76.

Journal and Constitution (Atlanta, GA), January 20, 1993.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 1996, review of The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder, p. 974; August 1, 2001, review of Tower at the End of the World, p. 1133.

Library Journal, May 15, 1988, Jackie Cassada, review of Moondreams, p. 96; February 15, 1989, Jackie Cassada, review of Nul's Quest, p. 180.

Publishers Weekly, November 4, 1988, review of Shadowshow, p. 77; January 6, 1989, review of Nul's Quest, p. 98; July, 1992, p. 81; July 12, 1993, review of The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder, p. 81; November 18, 2002, review of Mutiny!, p. 60.

School Library Journal, April, 1993, Susan L. Rogers, review of Dragon's Plunder, p. 125; September, 1993, Ann W. Moore, review of The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder, p. 228; September, 1995, Mary Jo Drungil, review of Doom of the Haunted Opera, p. 199; September, 1996, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of Hand of the Necromancer, pp. 206, 208; August, 1997, Connie Tyrrell Burns, review of The Bell, the Book, and the Spellbinder, p. 160; January, 1998, John Sigwald, review of Be a Wolf, p. 116; November 1, 1998, Krista Grosick, review of The Specter from the Magician's Museum, p. 129; October, 1999, Kendra Nan Skellen, review of The Wrath of the Grinning Ghost, p. 160; January, 2000, John Sigwald, review of Jack and the Beanstalk, p. 112; June, 2000, Coop Renner, review of When Mack Came Back, p. 154; December, 2000, Lana Miles, review of The Beast under the Wizard's Bridge, p. 150; September, 2001, Janet Gillen, review of Tower at the End of the World, p. 234; November, 2002, Rita Soltan, review of Mutiny!, p. 176; March, 2003, Kathleen A. Nester, review of The Guns of Tortuga, p. 241.

Stone Soup, March, 2001, Austin Alvermann, review of When Mack Came Back, p. 32.

Voice of Youth Advocates, June, 1999, review of The Specter from the Magician's Museum, p. 126; April, 2001, Deborah L. DuBois, review of The Beast under the Wizard's Bridge, p. 57.

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Strickland, (William) Brad(ley) 1947-(Will Bradley)

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