In the late 1970's I was enamored with The Hardy Boys mysteries. One of my older sisters bought one for me for my 10th birthday in 1975 and it sat on my bookshelf for about a year. I still remember the title "The Arctic Patrol Mystery". I had discovered the Happy Hollister series previously and was reading those books from the library so I held off reading the Hardy Boys.
Once I read one of the books, I was hooked. I've read all the original canon at least one and most books I have read several times.
This is where my spark for writing mysteries began. I would plan stories by making up titles and putting these titles on duo tang covers using coloured pencils and a ruler with letters stenciled on it.
I finished my first story, The Secret Of Blizzard Mountain, probably in 1977-1978. I soon followed that with "Mystery At The Airport". the heroes of my sagas were a brother and sister detective team. I've forgotten their first names now but their last name was Davis. I've since lost those stories.
In around this time, I decided to create a new detective, a teenager named Terry. Terry Macdonald was 19, and lived in Port Salser which was on the east coast of Canada (Nova Scotia). He lived with his father, Edward, a famous detective and his step mother, Patricia and his little sister Kimmy who was 4.
Terry went to high school where his best friend was Van Thompson and his girlfriend was Van's twin sister, Carrie.
There was a girl in my school named Carrie that I didn't like, so I changed Carrie to Valerie.
I wrote 3 stories in the Terry Macdonald Mystery Series in 1979, the year I turned 14 and moved from a small town on Lake Erie, to the large metropolis of Brantford Ontario.
In "The Secret Tunnel", Terry travelled from his hometown of Port Salser to Charlottetown to investigate robberies at a museum. He discovers a tunnel under the museum that leads to the culprit.
This was a very basic mystery story and I loved writing it. It is of course horrible and not even remotely publishable. But it was something I had written (literally written in pen--this was long before word processing programs and I didn't even own a typewriter)
The second mystery that year "The Haunted Mansion Mystery" which took Terry to Los Angeles to solve a mystery on a movie set. I thought this was so cool at the time, to have him travel to L.A.
Again, it's very poorly written and is only about 10,000 words or so. His friends Van and Carrie are along for the mystery.
The third mystery that I wrote that year has been lost. "The Mystery Of The Haunted Cottage", took place if I remember correctly on an island with cabins and involved Terry's cousins. I don't remember much about this story as I don't know what has happened to it. Somehow it got lost over the years.
So there you have my writing history for the 1970's.
Next post I will talk about the 1980's and what my writing was like for the "decade of excess".