Wise, Steven W. 1948-

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WISE, Steven W. 1948-

PERSONAL: Born July 15, 1948, in MI; son of Floyd W. (a highway department administrator) and Norma Jean (a homemaker; maiden name, Birdsong) Wise; married, August 21, 1976; wife's name Catherine (a registered nurse); children: Travis, Stacee. Ethnicity:

"White." Education: University of Missouri, B.A. (economics), 1970. Politics: Conservative. Religion: Baptist. Hobbies and other interests: Hiking, golf, wild turkey hunting.

ADDRESSES: Home—3400 C. B. Lewis Rd., Columbia, MO 65202. Office—Cannon, Blaylock & Wise, 2100 East Broadway, Suite 208, Columbia, MO 65201; fax: 573-875-5032. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER: Highway Commission Department of Transportation, staff member, 1971-83; real estate appraiser, 1983—. Co-owner of Cannon, Blaylock & Wise and predecessor companies. Military service: U.S. Army, 1970. U.S. Army Reserve, 1970-82.

MEMBER: Appraisal Institute.

WRITINGS:

novels

Midnight, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1992.

Chambers, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1994.

Long Train Passing, Thomas Nelson (Nashville, TN), 1996.

Chimborazo, America House (Baltimore, MD), 2000.

WORK IN PROGRESS: Two novels, The Shade of a Willow and The Jordan Tracks.

SIDELIGHTS: Though Steven W. Wise's first novel, Midnight, did not receive significant critical attention, his second book aroused interest for its unusual juxtaposition of Christian themes and a horror-thriller plot. Chambers recounts the kidnapping of a young boy named Darren from a shopping mall. The villain, an older man posing as a member of the clergy, wants to use Darren as a sacrifice in a Satanic ritual. While Darren's family and friends pray, a Christian agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation takes on the case. Voice of Youth Advocates reviewer Barbara Flottmeier, observing that the book bears some resemblance to the film The Exorcist, praised Wise's "realistic contrast between good and evil" and his carefully developed characterizations.

Wise's third novel, Long Train Passing, is also classified by reviewers as Christian fiction. It is the story of the love that grows between physically disabled teacher Annabelle Allen and a gravedigger, also disabled, as they individually reach out to a youth with an abusive home life. Jewell gradually learns to cope with his own emotional wounds through the patient love and forgiveness of his teacher and the gravedigger. A Library Journal critic described the novel as warm and appealing. John Mort, writing in Booklist, found the book likeable but not particularly credible due to the author's "sentimental flourishes." Nevertheless, he noted that Wise's "skillful evocation of wartime" in small-town Missouri adds greatly to the novel's charm.

Wise once told CA: "We live in a world where entertainment in a wide variety of forms is easy to find. As a reader myself, I find that I am becoming more and more interested in stories that provide something beyond simple entertainment, and it is my goal to create characters and plots that leave my readers with strong and lasting feelings. My novel The Shade of a Willow weaves together two love stories. One is a continuation of the relationship between Annabelle and Emmett in Long Train Passing, and the other portrays the love between two newlyweds who are unaware of the darkness that shadows them in the form of a disturbed Korean War hero who attempts to live out a fantasy relationship with the new bride.

"One of my greatest challenges in the writing of this new novel turned out to be creating scenes that depict the depth and beauty of the wedding bed experience without crossing the line and becoming gratuitous.

"I am very much rooted in small-town America, and believe that this backdrop provides an endless supply of memorable characters and stories. I also have very strong feelings about the sacrifices made by soldiers and their families in times of war. This thread also runs through another manuscript, The Jordan Tracks, which is set in 1968 during the height of the Vietnam War.

"I firmly believe that fine novels can be written sans foul language, graphic sex, or mindless violence. The novel that best represents what I strive for in my writing is To Kill a Mockingbird. Judging from the letters and notes I have received from readers across America, I apparently have managed to at least touch a chord here and there along the way. I have every intention of continuing to dig worthwhile stories from the heartland of my beloved country."

Wise later added: "My Civil War novel Chimborazo is beginning to gain some momentum. Several unsolicited reviews have appeared at Amazon.com, one of which was written by a military historian from Richmond, Virginia. The main character is fashioned after Phoebe Pember, the most notable of the matrons who served at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond. After reading a moving account of her attempt to save a young soldier throughout a long night, I was convinced that a novel could be constructed around this compelling scene."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

periodicals

Booklist, January 1 and 25, 1996, John Mort, review of Long Train Passing, p. 787.

Library Journal, February 1, 1996, review of Long Train Passing, p. 66.

Voice of Youth Advocates, February, 1995, Barbara Flottmeier, review of Chambers, p. 352.