Terpening, Ron 1946–

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Terpening, Ron 1946–

(Gerret Lambertzen, Ronnie H. Terpening)

PERSONAL: Born 1946, in Bellingham, WA; son of Harold (a traveling evangelist) and Darlene Terpening; married; wife's name Vicki. Education: Attended University of Pavia, Italy, 1965–66; University of Oregon, B.A., 1969; University of California, Berkeley, M.A., 1973, Ph.D., 1978.

ADDRESSES: Home—Tucson, AZ. Office—Department of French and Italian, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721. E-mail[email protected].

CAREER: Writer and educator. University of California, Berkeley, teaching assistant, 1971–76, instructor, 1977–78; Loyola University, Chicago, IL, assistant professor, 1978–82, associate professor of Italian, 1982; University of Arizona, Tucson, Department of French and Italian, visiting associate professor, 1982–84, associate professor, 1984–98, coacting head, 1996, professor, 1998–, director of study abroad program in Florence, Italy, 1987. Served on numerous panels for review of grant and fellowship applications.

MEMBER: Phi Beta Kappa.

AWARDS, HONORS: National Endowment for the Humanities, 1983, fellowship; recipient of numerous educational grants.



(As Ronnie H. Terpening) Charon and the Crossing: Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Transformations of a Myth (literary criticism), Bucknell University Press (Lewisburg, PA), 1985.

(As Ronnie H. Terpening) Lodovico Dolce: Renaissance Man of Letters (literary criticism), University of Toronto Press (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 1997.

(As Gerret Lambertzen; with Sarah Rapalje-Bergen) Beautiful Italy, Beloved Shores: An Illustrated Cultural History of Italy, Volume 1: From Prehistoric Times to the Fall of the Roman Empire (with accompanying compact discs), Desert Bloom Press (Cortaro, AZ), 2001.

Editor, as Ronnie H. Terpening, of Anthology of Italian Literature, Volume 1: Middle Ages and Renaissance, 2002, and Volume 2: From the Seventeenth through the Twentieth Century, Desert Bloom Press, 2005.


In Light's Delay, Desert Bloom Press (Cortaro, AZ), 1988.

Storm Track, Walker (New York, NY), 1989.

The Turning (young adult), Desert Bloom Press (Cortaro, AZ), 2001.

League of Shadows, Stuyvesant & Hoagland (New York, NY), 2005.

Tropic of Fear, Stuyvesant & Hoagland (New York, NY), 2006.

Contributor of reviews to Romance Languages Annual and Italica. Member of editorial board for New Connections: Studies in Interdisciplinarity, 1986–.

SIDELIGHTS: Ron Terpening is a professor of Italian with numerous nonfiction books to his credit, including works of literary criticism such as Charon and the Crossing: Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Transformations of a Myth and Lodovico Dolce: Renaissance Man of Letters (both published under the name Ronnie H. Terpening). He is also known, however, for writing novels, both in the suspense and young adult genres. The Turning, a coming-of-age tale, tells the story of Artie Crenshaw, a teenager with an abusive father. At his job one night, Artie decides to postpone going home, and the events that follow as a result of this decision cause him more trouble but ultimately help spur his progression towards manhood. Karen Hoth, writing in the School Library Journal, praised the "well-written story," proclaiming the characters "well developed" and the book itself "touching."

Terpening followed The Turning with a novel of intrigue called League of Shadows. The book follows former policeman Nick Ferron on his search for information about his grandfather, a man who, along with several coconspirators, attempted to infiltrate Mussolini's secret police in 1943. The story of Nick's hunt for information is told concurrently with "well researched" flashbacks to the mission itself, noted Library Journal contributor Joel W. Tscherne. The reviewer also felt that Terpening does an "excellent job" of keeping the two tales from becoming muddled together. A reviewer for Small Press Bookwatch concurred, observing that the "gripping"story makes for "an addictive read."

In 2005 Terpening released Tropic of Fear, another thriller, this one set in Paraguay. Two Americans, both visiting the capital but originally unknown to one another, are inadvertently drawn into the middle of a conspiracy to overthrow the Paraguayan government. David Pitt, writing in a Booklist review, commented on "small flaws in the plot," but observed that the "brisk clip" and pace of the action overcomes that flaw. Additionally, Library Journal critic Barbara Conaty noted the "deft plot," and the characters' "psychological depth," and called Terpening "a writer to watch."

Terpening told CA: "My desire to create imaginary worlds through fiction springs, as I suspect it does for most writers, from a love of reading. From early grade school years, when I was given my first books (most still in my library today) and when I lived one house away from the public library in Gresham, Oregon (where I spent most of my free time), to the present, when I teach Italian literature for a living, my addiction has been not to candy, rock 'n' roll, TV, drugs, sex, or gambling, but to the book—both as an artifact and as a source of delight, a distraction from the constraints of life. A good book carries you away and never lets you down.

"I started my first novel at the age of nineteen, writing so-called serious literary fiction, but fifteen years later a book by Dean Koontz—How to Write Bestselling Fiction—set me on the road to writing what, at the time, I most enjoyed reading—spy thrillers. My earliest influences in that genre were Robert Ludlum, David Morrell, Jack Higgins, and Clive Cussler, whose The Mediterranean Caper was the source behind my first published thriller, Storm Track. Occasionally, when the autobiographical impulse overcomes me, I also enjoy writing young-adult fiction. Scholarly nonfiction satisfies the demands of my job.

"Some say that only a fool claims not to write for money. Well, I don't mind being that sort of fool. I write with one goal in mind—the hope that someone, somewhere, finds the same pleasure in reading one of my novels that I find in reading the books I love. To me, that's payment enough."



Booklist, November 15, 2005, David Pitt, review of Tropic of Fear, p. 30.

Library Journal, April 15, 1989, William C. McCully, review of Storm Track; December 1, 2004, Joel W. Tscherne, review of League of Shadows, p. 103; November 15, 2005, Barbara Conaty, review of Tropic of Fear, p. 63.

School Library Journal, April, 2001, Karen Hoth, review of The Turning, p. 151.

Small Press Bookwatch, December, 2004, review of League of Shadows.


Ron Terpening Home Page, http://www.ronterpening.com (March 31, 2006).

University of Arizona Web site, http://www.u.arizona.edu/ (March 31, 2006), profile of author.