New from Dark Regions Press is WRITING AS LIFE, a collection of essays, fiction and poetry by Ray Bradbury's great friend, and a very fine writer himself, William F. Nolan. Of particular interest is a chapter called, "The Matheson Years". (Nolan was for several years a member of a group of writers and friends who got together not only to discuss writing, but to have fun as well. The group included such luminaries as Nolan, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, Chad Oliver, George Clayton Johnson and Ray Bradbury.) WRITING AS LIFE is available as an ebook, a trade paperback, and a signed limited edition hardcover. For more information about the book, including ordering information, click on the link below:
In keeping with this thread relating to William F. Nolan, below is a link to an interview with him that appeared in the May, 2015 issue of NIGHTMARE MAGAZINE. A couple of the Q's and A's relate directly to the group of California writers who hung around together to discuss their work and to have fun, a group that included Ray Bradbury, as mentioned in the first post above. Sadly, Mr. Nolan is the last surviving member of that group:
Reading William F. Nolan's WRITING AS LIFE, and came to the chapter on Ray Bradbury, "Space Age Legend: An Essay on Ray Bradbury". One particular portion of the essay made me smile. Apparently, Maggie Bradbury's boss at her place of employment read DARK CARNIVAL after its publication in 1947. And Bill Nolan writes: "When her boss read Ray's collection of terror tales he became alarmed. 'This husband of yours is a mentally sick man', he declared. 'I'm very worried about your safety, living with such a twisted individual.'"
The link below will take you to a portion of an interview with William F. Nolan that appeared in Locus Magazine in 2012. As for "The Group", the California writers who ofter got together in the 1950's for work and play, Mr. Nolan notes, in part: "The group back then – Beaumont, Matheson, Bradbury, myself, and a few others – has become an iconic thing, but we were really just a bunch of guys trying to pay the rent!"
Another great interview with William F. Nolan, this one from from 2016, can be accessed by clicking on the link below. And be sure to check out, in about the middle of the interview, the wonderful photo of five members of "The Group" in 1954: Charles Fritch, Chad Oliver, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson, and Bill Nolan. All would have been in their 20's at the time:
Anyone with an interest in "The Group", the California writers and friends who often got together in the 1950's for both work and play (including Ray Bradbury, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson and William F. Nolan) might enjoy the tribute to Charles Beaumont hosted by Harlan Ellison, and which included Richard Matheson, Roger Anker and Christopher Beaumont, Charles Beaumont's son. This audio discussion, from 1987, marked the 20th anniversary of Charles Beaumont's tragically early death, and can be accessed by clicking on the link below. While the topic is primarily the life and work of Charles Beaumont, "The Group" is discussed for several minutes, starting at about the 13 minute mark.
And speaking of Richard Matheson, in his newsletter of today's date, publisher Barry Hoffman of Gauntlet Press encouraged someone to write a biography of that very fine writer:
"No one, to date, has written a biography of the acclaimed author [Richard Matheson]. But ... his own writing, especially some lesser known works that only Gauntlet published, is highly autobiographical. We published GENERATIONS, a book loosely based on Matheson’s family, and there is much in it that touches on his life. We later published LEAVE YESTERDAY ALONE which touches upon Matheson’s college experience. In the same book we included what is the closest he wrote to a biography, MUSINGS, a non-fiction journal he kept in the nineties and early 2000s. Lastly, one of his better known novels, BEARDLESS WARRIORS, is based on Matheson’s experience at war.
You put these together and you get a rough glimpse of his life from his childhood to young adulthood. While many of his contemporaries have passed away (we discussed “The Group” before William F. Nolan recently died) there are a number of Matheson scholars (you know who you are) who could do justice to a Matheson biography. It’s a book we would gladly publish. It’s one that needs to be written."
For much more information about "The Group", those California writing friends (including Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, William F. Nolan, Charles Beaumont, George Clayton Johnson, Chad Oliver and John Tomerlin) who encouraged, supported and helped each other during the 1950's early in their careers, the link below will take you to a fine article by Christopher Conlon on that group of writers: