Monday, June 21, 2010
Aztec Authors: John Morgan Wilson
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John Morgan Wilson (‘68, journalism) —celebrated mystery novelist and television scriptwriter—is at work on his 11th novel, “The Camera Never Lies.”
It begins with a flashback to a mysterious death, revisited 22 years later when crucial evidence discovered on a videotape implicates the victim’s husband.
Fans of Wilson’s iconic sleuth Benjamin Justice may be disappointed that the gay ex-reporter doesn’t appear in this latest work. Wilson retired Justice after eight novels, a prestigious Edgar Award and three Lambda Literary Awards.
These days, the author is trying his hand at different forms of fiction with a new protagonist and multiple points of view.
Wilson’s book-in-progress, “The Camera Never Lies,” is an expansion of his short story by the same name, recently published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. He conceived the plot while writing a scripted documentary series for John Langley, creator and executive producer of the long-running FOX series “COPS.”
Back in 1968, Wilson wrote his first short stories for a San Diego State fiction writing class and became a finalist in the nationwide Atlantic Monthly college short story competition.
A magazine article writing class taught by San Diego State professor Arthur Wimer opened Wilson’s eyes to “the possibility of freelancing, the nuts and bolts of it, and the rigorous discipline it required. I sold my first freelance magazine and newspaper pieces in that class.”
Wilson continued freelancing, and in 1985, the Los Angeles Times hired him to work with their contributors on developing, rewriting and polishing articles for the Sunday arts and entertainment section.
From that experience, and his own successful freelance career, came the idea for a book. His hardcover edition of “The Complete Guide to Magazine Article Writing” (Writer’s Digest Books, 1993) was in print for nearly a decade.
“What I learned in Art Wimer’s class gave me the foundation for the book and for my freelance career,” Wilson said. “When he retired, Art sent me the materials from his class, saying he hoped I would one day teach his disciplined approach to freelancing, which I did. Art’s impact on me and my writing career was profound."
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