by Lorie Lewis Ham
On May 29 KRL celebrates our 5th anniversary! One of the things we are doing to celebrate is to introduce a few of our staff writers to all of you! Some you have already gotten to know as they are also mystery authors and have been interviewed here–but many you have not, other than what you have learned through what they write for us. I’m even learning fun things I didn’t know about our staff! This week we are chatting with Terrance McArthur who writes our Great Food Search column, and book reviews.
KRL: Where were you born and raised?
Terrance: I was born in Los Angeles, but one day while I was in high school, I woke up and realized I had lived in Bakersfield for over half my life (I was in a fit of depression for two weeks).
KRL: When did you move to the Fresno area?
Terrance: I came to Fresno State in 1972, and was introduced to my first wife, a girl from Sanger, on a blind date.
KRL: How long have you lived in Sanger?
Terrance: Partially because of my first wife’s declining health after the birth of our daughter, we moved to the Sanger area in 1980.
KRL: Current occupation?
Terrance: I have been a librarian with the Fresno County Public Library since 2003. Currently, I am in the WoW! Library service, working outside the library walls to help businesses and community groups
KRL: Past types of jobs you’ve had before the library?
Terrance: I’ve worked in recreation programs, been a storyteller, puppeteer, clown, magician, and balloon sculptor, earned three teaching credentials and couldn’t get a full-time position, and spent nine summers working as a crafts counselor at a diabetes summer camp (I don’t have diabetes, I’ve just lived around it for most of my life).
Terrance: East Bakersfield High School, Bakersfield College (AA), CSUFresno (BA), San Jose State (MLIS).
KRL: Had you ever done any writing before KRL?
Terrance: In high school, I wrote book and lyrics for a musical comedy based on Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde. I’ve written over a dozen plays that have been produced, including adaptations of Tom Sawyer, stories and poems of Edgar Allen Poe, and Call of the Wild for the library’s Big Read programs. I’ve written a lot of books and stories, but I seem to lose the manuscripts or the computer file before I can get up the guts to submit them to a publisher. As a gift for friends, I once wrote a cookbook/memoir, Only One Person Ever Liked My Cooking…And She Died.
KRL: What kinds of things have you written for KRL?
Terrance: I started with book reviews of science fiction, horror, and paranormal. I added some mystery fiction reviews (I like cozies), theatre and movie reviews, and restaurants. I have written features on musicians, travel destinations, a food expo, and the death of a pet, over 250 articles in all.
KRL: Tell us a little about your column?
Terrance: The Great Food Search is part restaurant review and part scavenger hunt. Sometimes, it’s variations on a theme–comparing donut shops, taco trucks, Chinese restaurants. Other times, I find a restaurant that I really like and can write 600 words or more about it.
KRL: What are some of your favorite things you have written about?
Terrance: I started a series of articles about “gottados,” those things you really should see or do if you live in the Valley. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as popular with the readers as it was with me, so it came to a premature end. Every now and then, I review a book that does something to me, and I become a fan and booster of that writer’s work, and I will write some articles for KRL that I wouldn’t normally be willing to write, just for the chance of reviewing the next book by one of my favorite authors.
KRL: Tell us about your fiction writing.
Terrance: Some of my work is for children, but that hasn’t been published. I like writing mysteries, but those aren’t finished. I write splatterpunk horror, and my 7’3” sideshow-performer brother talked me into gathering my stranger stories into a booklet, The Giant Made Me Write This. I have won some contests with my writing, the Fresno Bee has printed a few holiday memory stories, and one of my stories was published twice: in a Christian sci-fi/Fantasy e-zine and in an anthology, Monsters & Mormons.
KRL: How did you first get interested in writing?
Terrance: I grew up around the theatre, and I had written some poems and short stories for school, but an English teacher in my junior year of high school, Darlene Wolfe, assigned us to write a parody of a fairy tale, so I rewrote “The Three Little Pigs” into a Shakespearean, blank-verse tragedy with the wolf as the tragic hero. That was when I really started writing.
KRL: You are also a storyteller. Please share about that and how you got involved in that?
Terrance: I was the oldest of five children, and I was in charge of bedtimes, so I read and told a lot of stories. When I was doing puppet shows for library summer programs, I started adding storytelling and magic tricks to my performances. I love folktales, so I have collected stories from most parts of the world; I have more than 200 stories in my file binder. Of course, if I can’t find a traditional tale that fits the theme I need, I take elements from folklore and make up one. Another part of my repertoire is what I call 3-D storytelling, presenting a story in ways that go beyond the verbal (drawing, magic tricks, paper, shadow puppetry, and improvisation).
Terrance: I met my second wife at church, six weeks after my first wife died of diabetic kidney failure. We were so scared it took us over two years to get married. We will soon celebrate our 27th anniversary. My grown daughter lives with us, along with the ghost of a spinster cat.
Terrance: For relaxation, I make pine needle baskets, which I often give away and sometimes sell. I have been making wrapped-wire figures for over 50 years. I am one of the few men I know who enjoys wearing neckties, and I have more than 1350 of them…and they have their own room!
KRL: Anything else you would like to share?
Terrance: Writing for Kings River Life is a challenge…in a good way. I have to finish projects, I have to meet deadlines and I have to write things I’ve never written before. I think it has strengthened my writing. Thank you, Lorie.
You are very welcome Terrance and thanks for being a part of the KRL family! KRL wouldn’t happen without all of these great people who write for us so we can share fun and interesting stories with all of you!
Check out Terrance’s column here monthly in KRL: kingsriverlife.com/category/food-fun/great-food-search. Watch for more profiles throughout the summer and some great giveaways the end of this month to celebrate 5 years!