Richard Zowie’s FAQ

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Richard Zowie (me, circa 2004). This picture was an outtake for a column photo.

I was born in Louisiana, raised in Kansas and Texas, went to college in Florida, served in the Army and spent time in Northern California. Now, I live in Michigan and work as a writer. Currently, I split my time between working at the Mt. Morris/Clio and Birch Run/Bridgeport Herald and the Frankenmuth Kroger Fuel Station. I also write and blog whenever I can and try to devote the rest of my time to freelance writing: news, features, columns, blogs and fiction. It keeps me busy. When it comes to writing, I look at it this way: I don’t know how to do anything else, and I don’t want to do anything else.

My work has appeared in various publications. A few of them: Saworship.com, San Antonio Express-News, Flint Journal‘s Flint Community Newspapers and Air Force News.

Sometimes, I’m confused with my Dad, a retired mechanic whose first name is also Richard. We have different middle names. We both tend to be very restless individuals (as does my Uncle Jerry, Dad’s younger brother and Uncle Don, Dad’s older brother).

Some Frequently Asked Questions about me…

Is Zowie really your real name? Yes.

You’re kidding, right? No.

How do you pronounce it? Rhymes with these words: wowie, Howie (as in Howie Mandel from Deal or No Deal) and Maui.

Where did it come from? The Zowie family originated in Germany (Bavaria, to be specific, in a small town outside Regensburg called Mötzing). My grandfather’s birthname was Sylvester Sebastian Zahnweh (pronounced “Tsahn-veh” and means “Toothache” in German), and a few years later his name was Americanized. He became Sebastian Paul Zowie.

With an original name like Zahnweh, I’m curious…are you Jewish? No, but I am a Christian who’s fond of the Jewish culture and of Israel. My grandfather’s religion early in life was Roman Catholic.

When did you become a Christian? October 1981, reassurance of salvation April 1984.

You seem to be a quirky person with a bizarre sense of humor. Why? I suffer from a desire to keep myself constantly occupied and entertained. If I’m not writing or working on something that has to be done, then I say or do goofy things. Primarily, they’re designed to make me laugh, but as I get older, I think I’m getting better at making others laugh. Still, considering the garbage that many Americans think is funny today (Knocked Up, for example), I tend to roll my eyes when people tell me my jokes aren’t working.

C’mon: do you really expect me to believe “Zowie” is your real surname? Believe whatever you want.

Who are your favorite authors to read? Ray Bradbury, Harry Turtledove, Stephen King, Frank Peretti. Ben Bova. Michael Crichton. Haven’t read Ted Dekker yet, but I’m told he’s very good. I’m also looking to read more biographies.

How would you describe your style as a writer? I like to go where my imagination takes me while making sure things don’t get so far-fetched that the story’s not believable or readable. At this point in time, I find myself influenced the most by Michael Crichton. I’ve always liked reading the late Mr. Crichton since he had an amazing gift for taking technical scientific information and making it understandable and readable. When writing, I like to set up a scene to give the reader a vivid picture of what’s going on and then move along the scene. I also find myself going through a draft and trying to eliminate needless words (as per Strunk and White‘s advice) to make things flow better. It’s far too cumbersome to take 200 words to describe something when 50 would’ve worked.

Do you ever receive e-mail from readers? Sometimes. It’s a mixture of positive and negative. Some of the “hate mail” is funny to read, while some is vulgar and gets deleted or ignored. I don’t mind people disagreeing with me–in fact, I expect it, but I prefer they do it a civilized manner. Otherwise, it makes me wonder how they have internet access at the preschool they attend.

What’s your favorite Bible to use? King James Version and New King James Version. Zondervan and New Open Study Bible editions are ones I’ve used and liked. I also like to collect Bibles in the languages I’ve formally studied: Spanish, Mandarin Chinese and Russian.

If you ever became famous, do you think you and your family would ever do a reality television show? Absolutely not.

You’re a writer, so I have to ask: what’s your favorite pen? Papermate. Zebras are also nice.

What are your favorite all-time Papermates? Pro-fit, Flexigrip Ultra, the old-style, see-through Silk Writer and Comfortmate. The see-through Dynagrips are also very nice.

Do you write using a computer or longhand? I normally prefer computer since writing longhand quickly results in my brain being paragraphs ahead of my pen, but sometimes the mood strikes and I’ll write things down. I do keep a notebook and pen in case an idea hits me when I’m away from a computer. I like to do some of my journaling longhand.

What is your greatest phobia? Boredom.

What do you think of President Obama? I prefer not to discuss politics on my writer’s blog. Let’s just say I’m an independent conservative and leave it at that. Otherwise, if you’re still curious, go to my From A to Zowie blog.

What advice do you give to aspiring writers? Read and write. Constantly. Network. Be open to criticism. Use the constructive criticism and weed out the critics who don’t know what they’re talking about. Finally, never, ever quit. And please don’t apply for a job I’m applying for also.

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One comment on “Richard Zowie’s FAQ

  1. Richard, I love that painting of a view of the sun from Pluto. Is there a high res copy that I could buy. I would love to enlarge it to poster size.

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