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William P. Lazarus

William Paul Lazarus Updated August 08, 2019


William P. Lazarus

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He holds a B.A. and M. A. in journalism from Kent State, and an ABD in American Studies from Case Western Reserve University. He worked as a reporter for the New Haven Register, business editor for the Daytona Beach News-Journal and editor of Halifax Magazine. He also held positions in advertising and public relations in Ohio, Connecticut and Florida, and has had multiple articles published in newspapers and magazines nationwide as well more than a dozen books. He authors the popular blog, Religion and Religious History in Today’s World, with more than 100,000 readers. William is now retired from everything but writing and lives with his wife in Daytona Beach.
Be sure to check out my books at Bold Venture

I know I was 6 years old when I got on the writing rollercoaster. Although I was born in Portland, Me., my father had moved the family to Akron, Ohio just before I turned 6 in August. We moved again the next summer. So, we lived in that house on Portage Path for just the one year.

I was on the floor there, looking at the newspaper, when I saw names on the page. These days, that probably couldn’t happen. Newspapers are fading away as most people get news from the internet. Also, with Ipods and other technological gadgets, reading is becoming a lost art. However, when I was growing up in the 1950s, Television was still relatively new, but already replacing radio. Newspapers were the major source of in-home amusement and news. I was probably more interested in the comics, but the bylines caught my attention.

My dad explained that those were the people who wrote the stories. That sounded neat. I decided to be a newspaper reporter. To do that, I had to know how to write. The idea that I could or could not write never entered my mind.

I absorbed journalistic writing. In sixth grade, for my first essay, I wrote a series of fictional news articles on Argentina. Without thinking or questioning my choice, I placed them in newspaper format. It just seemed the natural way to write. I suspect the teacher expected a normal essay. She certainly was surprised by my submission. She also loved it and encouraged me. On all my future essays, I always put on the cover “author of the fabulous Argentina report” or similar phrases. Each new essay was heralded on the next one as well.

I suspect my writing wasn’t very good. My grades certainly were only slightly above average. Nevertheless, I worked for my junior high and high school newspapers. Headlines I wrote in high school won national recognition. I remember one: two students, Mark and Martha, had won scholarships from Chrysler Corp. The headline: “M & M Sweet to Chrysler.”

At Kent State University, as an undergraduate, I was editor of the Daily Kent Stater during the fall after the Kent State shootings. That paper would be named the top college newspaper in the country in spring 1971. Of course, with all the investigations and reports, we had a lot to write about. In my senior year, I was a campus correspondent for the New York Times.

After college, I worked for a trade journal, public relations and advertising, but was chafing to join a newspaper. I finally got a change in 1980, becoming a lifestyle reporter with the New Haven Register. Later, I was business editor for the Daytona Beach News-Journal and a correspondent for the Orlando Sentinel. For nine years, I served as an editor of Halifax magazine, a general interest publication that circulated around east-central Florida.
While all that was going on, I also taught writing at various schools as an adjunct instructor and pursued religious history as an avocation. As a result, I can honestly say that there are very few topics I haven’t written something about. One friend in New Haven insisted my name was posted at mental hospitals so every kook knew who to contact for a story.

Most of my early books were in religious history and were typically written on subjects that were not available to the general reader. However, in a funk after my girlfriend broke up with me before the 1976 bicentennial fireworks, I started writing novels. The early ones were weak, but not the more recent crop.

I am still writing, mostly as a ghostwriter for clients around the world. I also do poetry and short stories as the whim strikes. After all these years, I’ve never lost my enthusiasm for a byline.

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