About bf oswald Novelist

bf oswald novelist author


I've known him for years:

bf oswald began his latest career, that of novelist, at the age of 72 when his first novel, Echoes of Ellen, was published. This novel was nominated for both the National Book Award and the eBook equivalent, an EPPIE. It is a story framing stories about people—a romance embracing a variety of lives and places, problems encountered and problems solved.

A year later his second novel, Flood: A Saga was published, which he claims is his favorite. In this work oswald shows his ability as a careful researcher as he constructs the life of a young man who builds his fortune from a ten-dollar land grant on the Iowa prairie into a prosperous one thousand acre farm and while doing so helps to build a railroad, a farmers equity, a school, and a town. Two more generations follow; the last becomes victim of a catastrophic flood that destroys the farm and a family. At the end, perseverance triumphs, lives are remade, and the land becomes a haven for wildlife and people.

Five Women In Black, his third novel, was actually begun in 1982 then misplaced. The manuscript was discovered in 2007 and finished. Is it a mystery and a romance, or a romance embracing a mystery? It is the story of a bright young woman who does a dumb thing; falls in love with a married man. Although this is an oft-repeated theme in literature, there is a twist that involves the Mafia, and a Pacific island. It is a great read that begs a sequel.

In The Footpath, bf oswald drew on his years of experience as a therapist to create his protagonist, a widower who is stalked by a psychopathic former patient and saved from death at the last minute by charming and resourceful widow. If I were to pick a genre for this fast read by bf oswald, I would choose 'Suspense'. His other novels are each very different from each other.
Read on as the author talks about his work in detail and then provides a look at the twists and turns of his own life, experiences that created the canvass upon which his writing is scribed.

As yet he has not gained the readership his immeasurable talent deserves. It maybe that his eclectic writing does not easily find a home in any genre less broad than 'fiction'. That is a shame because I guarantee that once you start reading one of his novels, you will have difficulty putting it down.
—Johnny DeSilver, Freelance Critic

June 2011

During a recent visit to the campus bf oswald was interviewed by the editor of the North Central Technical College's Creative Journal.

CJ: When I read Echoes of Ellen I couldn't decide if it was a collection of short stories masquerading as a novel or a novel showcasing your short stories. Which is it?

bfo: Actually Ellen began as a collection of short stories that I had written over the last decade, many of which I had submitted to various publications with zero success. So I decided to bundle them and sent out query letters to several publishers who accepted short story collections. Deb Staples of SynergEbooks expressed interest and suggested that I build the stories into a plot. So Bill and Ellen's story, a short story in itself, was written last with the result you noted. I'd say that your second suggestion is closer to the mark.

CJ: Is Echoes of Ellen your first published work?

bfo: Yes by a national publisher. As you may remember, you included many of my essays, poems, and short fiction in the Journal. Also I have a few local newspaper articles to my credit.

CJ: Why short stories and not longer works?

bfo: Over my adult life everything I wrote had to be short, beginning with the stories I had to write for my creative writing courses in college. When I was a federal investigator my reports had to be short and concise; sermons are by necessity short complete works, as are lectures. Also I have always liked short stories especially those by Poe, Singer, London, and O'Henry.

CJ: SynergEbooks is primarily an electronic press. What is your opinion of that form of publishing?

bfo: Frankly I had difficulty accepting that method at first. During the majority of my life, a book has been a printed page between two covers. Although I spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen, I use a word processing program to write and all of my research is done on line, I still like to be comfortable when I read for pleasure. Now with an e-reader I can read ebooks comfortably almost anywhere. Ellen was first published in print because my publisher needed six print copies in order to enter it in the National Book Awards. Subsequently she entered an e-copy in the EPPIE Awards. Unfortunately Ellen did not place in either. I am amazed at how large e-publishing has become. To date, as far as I know, there are at least a million or more titles available for download (including Ellen) from Amazon alone. And Amazon is only one of many outlets. The increasing popularity of e-readers has made this possible.

CJ: How difficult was it to get Ellen published?

bfo: Initially not that hard. I sent out two dozen query letters and received two offers. Getting Ellen ready for publication was the real challenge. I tend to be a perfectionist. I rewrote almost every story, including Bill and Ellen's, many times, two stories twelve times each, and would have done more had I not had a deadline. I re-edited the first edition of the print copy also for a second printing. It was far easier to write the stories than it was to prepare them to be published.

CJ: What's next?

bfo: My second novel, Flood, A Saga, was published as an eBook in May (09) by Synerge. And I am currently waiting for the cover art to be completed for a novel, Five Women in Black that I wrote while on the faculty here almost thirty years ago, resurrected at my wife's suggestion. It is scheduled to be published in June (10) if the cover is ready.

CJ: You said you wrote Five Women in Black thirty years ago but you are just now getting it ready for publication. Why is that?

bfo: At the time I was beset by a number of personal problems. I had been carrying the kernel of FWIB around in my head for a while before that and decide to start writing it as a diversion. When I am working I lose all track of time and block out everything around me. I wrote the novel on a legal pad in the faculty lounge in Ovalwood Hall here on campus. The lounge was usually deserted and quiet and it was only a few hundred steps from the college library where I did my research for the story. When I started dating my present wife, she took a interest in the book and typed the manuscript. After I bought my first computer, I transposed the book to floppies, stored them and forgot about the project. With both Ellen published and Flood soon to be, my wife urged me to resurrect FWIB and submit it.

CJ: You mentioned research. Do you still use libraries?
bfo: No. There is a wealth of information available to me on the Internet. What used to take me hours in a library I can now accomplish in a matter of minutes, electronically storing whole articles for referencing without having to write a single note.

CJ: What do you envision in your future?
bfo: I plan to keep writing as long as my age and health permit. I've got a lot of stories to tell and I enjoy telling them. If I am fortunate, one of my books will gain national attention. But there are a lot of writers publishing a lot of books so the competition is fierce. Having Ellen published was very important to me; I always dreamed of seeing my name on a book cover. I never imagined it would appear first on the label of a CD. In any event I am now a published author and proud of it.
CJ: Are your books selling?

bfo: Slowly. My wife and I are the marketing team and we spend as much time as possible looking for ways to make the reading public aware of my work. Without the advertising resources of a large publisher it is difficult and time consuming. I am also at a disadvantage in this McClone environment because I write outside of most of the established genres and it’s hard to get a people who read one genre exclusively to venture outside of that box to read one of my novels.
CJ: Thank you Professor Oswald. I'm looking forward to reading more of your books.


I was born in Lakewood, Ohio in 1934 and moved to Bay Village when I was six where I lived until at sixteen I became a cadet at Randolph Macon Academy, Front Royal, Virginia, graduating in 1953. I then attended Allegheny College, Meadville, Pennsylvania leaving at the end of my freshman year to join the Air Force where I served first as a drill instructor and later as a water safety instructor and lifeguard. Four years later I returned to Allegheny, graduating in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, and a minor in creative writing.

Immediately after graduating I began a four-year stint as a Federal investigator leaving the FDA in 1964 to attend graduate school, first at the Oberlin Graduate School of Theology and finishing at The Methodist Theological School in Ohio where I earned a Master’s degree in counseling psychology.
During my working life, I have been a short order cook, printer’s devil, dairy farmhand, high school teacher, minister, contractor, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist, and college professor now emeritus. During my career as a member of the faculty of North Central State College, Mansfield, Ohio I taught twenty-three different courses that covered all aspects of human development and behavior from birth to death, creating eighteen of these courses for the nursing, radiology, human services, and behavioral science curriculums. During my tenure I also authored two textbooks, one on human sexuality, the other on aging, and I contributed poetry, essays, and short fiction to the college literary journal.

After I retired from teaching, I continued as a trustee of the Mansfield Sailing Club and then as Commodore, and I also became a member of SCORE. In 2002 I resigned from MSC and SCORE and returned to contracting. I also began to write my first novel, Echoes of Ellen, published in 2008 and nominated for both a National Book Award and an EPPIE (eBook award). Flood – A Saga (2009), Five Women in Black (2010), The Rental (2011), Terribly Twisted Tales (2012), The Footpath (2014), Vinni's Bed (2014), Short Stories by a Short Author (2015), A Pearl of Great Worth (2016), and Johnny DeSilver, FDA (2017), followed Echoes of Ellen. My latest novel is Ghost Haven (2019).

My wife Cynthia and I are the parents of four daughters and a son, and we also enjoy our seven grandchildren, three great grandsons and four great granddaughters. We are Florida residents but spend a part of our summers visiting family and friends in other parts of the country.

I welcome your questions and comments addressed to me at bfoswaldauthor@gmail.com and will respond as soon as possible.


 About The Author



novel echoes of ellen

novel five women in black

novel the footpath

novel the rental

short stories by a short author

 novel vinni's bed

 terribly twisted titillating tales of terror

 A Pearl of Great Worth Book



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