The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa on September 20, 1966 · Page 4
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The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa · Page 4

Algona, Iowa
Issue Date:
Tuesday, September 20, 1966
Page 4
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Bode Farm Boy Is Now A Million-Copy Book Author Algona, (la.) Upper De» Moines Tuesday, Sept. 20, 1966 DECORAH, IOWA - A moonlighting Luther College instructor's paperback books are being printed in unprecedented million-copy first-run editions. The author is a farm boy from Bode. Thirty-year-old Eugene Olson, who uses the pseudonym Brad Steiger, hit the magic million mark with his "Valentino - A Personal Biography." The in- depth study of the Latin screen lover was published by MacFadden-Bartell in a one million paperback first edition. MacFadden paid a record royalty advance to secure rights to the book. In addition to the American edition, the book will be reprinted in many foreign countries. Olson, or Steiger, has also received calls from Hollywood producers considering movie rights to the script. His literary agent is currently negotiating in Hollywood for film rights, and a television network is bidding for rights to the book as data for an hour-long televised special on the life and times of America's, most spectacular leading man. Another of the lowan's books has also found the sales formula on the nation's newsstands. "Strangers from the Skies" is a comprehensive study of flying saucers and unidentified objects. Released in July, the first edition was sold out iirtwo weeks and the book is being reprinted by Award Books, New York. An August release, "Strange Guests," Ace Books, was rated by Bestseller's Magazine as a "Summer Sizzler." How does an unknown writer become such a success in the highly competitive writing field, especially when lie lives so far from the white-hot intensity of the New York publishing world ? Olson was raised on a farm near Bode, Iowa. "I've been writing since childhood," he says. "When plowing time came, I used to sit on the tractor and plot story ideas." During college at Luther, Steiger-Olson began to write mystery short stories and serious fiction. He made sales to several magazines. Then, with the rigorous schedule of high school teaching after graduation, and the financial demands of raising a growing family, his writing suffered. "The economics of writing for the beginning author are pretty brutal," Olson said. "I worked a month on a short story, sold it to a top name magazine and received $30 for my efforts." In 1962, Olson spent every spare moment in advancing his writing career. Teaching at Clinton, Iowa, high school, he shared an office with another writer, Warren Smith. Together, they later produced "The Menace of Pep Pills", an expose of the illicit traffic in drugs. Publication of the book later led to passage of a law by the U. S. Senate which regulated traffic in amphetamines and similar pills. . After that book, Olson published several other paperbacks, 14 altogether. Then, in January, 1965, he started writing and researching the life of Valentino. "It was a tough year," is the way Gene Olson puts it. "I had faith in the project and reduced my teaching load to part-time and wanted to continue, but money was a problem." "At one time we were shaking quarters out of the children's piggy bank," reports Marilyn Olson, his wife. "We were buying groceries on a day-to-day basis." The months of financial strain j,aid off when the completed manuscript reached Olson's New York literary agent. "He obtained one of the highest advances in publishing history for an priginal paperback," says Olson. "We paid all of our pills.and then went out and had a big steak dinner. We had almost forgotten what steak tasted like." From then m, the "Valentino" book made publishing history. MacFadden Publications launched one of the most intense sales campaigns in history. The book was advertised on network radio, in newspapers and in magazines. Giant billboards were used in metropolitan areas to announce the arrival of the "Shiek." Sales were phenomenal. Overnight, the writer built an enviable reputation in the New York publishing world. "We get requests every day for future manuscripts," explains Olson. Success has wrought a few outward changes in the lives of Gene Olson and his family, "We've purchased some new furniture for the house and I can now buy a book whenever 1 feel like it," says the lowan. Each evening shortly before dinner Olson works out with weight-lifting equipment. "I believe in the Spartan theory of both physical and mental exercise," he says. Mornings are spent writing and afternoons are spent at Luther College, advising students who are interested in a writing career, advising student-edited publications, and editing the Oneota Review. "The two careers don't bother me," Olson said. "I like to write but I also equally enjoy the atmosphere of the campus and the stimulation of a college." Olson's advice for the beginning writer: "Don't give up your job and gamble everything. If you have the desire, you can do your writing in your spare time." 102 At Reunion, Elect Lone Rock Woman As Head LONE ROCK- AMarlowfamily picnic reunion was held last week at Robbin Island Park, Willmar, Minn. There were 102 registered. There was a business meeting held at which Mrs. Erich Seegebarth of Lone Rock was elected president and chairman of the 1967 reunion which will be held in Iowa. Mrs. Dick Dallman of New Hampton, Iowa was elected Secretary and Treasurer. Games were played and prizes given. Door prizes were given to the following; Mrs. P. W. Marlow Burt, Iowa, Mrs. Ernest Hutchison of Bancroft, and Cindy Johnsen of Redfield, S. D. Oldest member of the family present was Mrs. Georgia E. Marlow of Lone Rock, youngest member Daniel Marlow son of Mr. and Mrs, Bob Marlow of Lone Rock. - o - The Kossuth Co. Republicans Womens organization met in Lone Rock last Tuesday afternoon at the American Legion Hall. There was nomination of candidates for officers for the organization. Also plans are being made to hold coffees at various homes throughout the county in the near future. After a business meeting and a skit conducted by Angus Cotton of Lone Rock, there were refreshments served by a group of Lone Rock ladies. Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Earing of Oceano, Calif., and Mrs. Agnes Dudding of Bancroft were guests at the home of Mrs. Evelyn Earing on Monday Evening. ALL-NEW 1967 Admiral -QUALITY RECTANGULAR a * Color 25" j^ssrr*'''*™*' The DUNMORE Model TK55oT finish on contemporary metal cabinet, anced Q-26 transformer-powered chassis. IIHP * • T tuAnei [ plus convenient slide-rule UHF tuning. Tone control. Buy Now While Selections Of Color TV is At Its Best ! fall, come see us soon. You'll money and get best selection. Electronic Specialties DIAGONAL STREET PHONE 295-3215 ALGONA

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