Biography

Headshot May 16
        Alton Fletcher

I am a writer, residing in Virginia. I enjoy writing historical fiction. I also write a blog, which consists of essays, narrative sketches, and poetry, when the spirit moves. I have always been a writer, in one form or another, but over the years I have worked in many professions: as a former banker, Coast Guard officer, intelligence officer, assistant professor, speechwriter, and an account manager for a major corporation. As you might surmise, I enjoy the spice of life. Some would suggest with good reason that I simply can’t decide what I want to be when I grow up.

I grew up in many places on both coasts, but came of age in an old farmhouse, situated on fifty wooded acres, near a small village in the Pocono Mountains. Among other things, I enjoyed a life of hunting and fishing, reading and writing, and daydreaming about someday becoming a famous author. I still enjoy all those things.

Lately, I have embarked on a new career as an author to exercise some creative talents that will not stay quiet any longer. I’ve always known deep down that I’d have to take this fateful step one day, although I haven’t always admitted the sometimes latent apprehension to myself. It takes enormous courage to become a writer, and it’s only lately that I’ve mustered enough of the stuff to step out. Better late than never, I suppose.

For personal and professional reasons that make sense to me, if nobody else, I’ve chosen to write under a pseudonym. My given name is Theodore Alton Bull. My friends and family call me Ted. Some still insist on Teddy, which is fine, since I’m the namesake of my father and grandfather, who was named after Teddy Roosevelt.

My father was from New Jersey; my mother is a southern belle from Louisiana. They met and married in the middle, in Greenville, South Carolina, where I was born. God indeed works in mysterious ways. I do firmly believe, however old-fashioned it may be, that God’s hand is in everything, and that all things, even the most terrible events or hardships, eventually work to the good of those who are called by his name. I make no apology for it.

I wish I could say that I’m a Southern writer. Although I was born in one southern state and have made my home in another, I can’t honestly lay claim to the heritage as a true southerner, since most of my formative years took place north of the Mason-Dixon line. But, given what heritage I do have, I’ve always been interested, since I can’t remember when, in the Civil War. Perhaps you can appreciate my fascination. To me, with a foot in both lands, so to say, understanding that conflict goes to the heart of knowing what it is to be an American.

It should come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of Shelby Foote and his writing. I especially wish that I had been blessed with a storytelling tongue as melodious and fluid as his was, though his is now silent. My tongue never could keep pace with my mind. That’s why writing is so important to me in expressing my thoughts to others.

I have finished my first novel, titled Southern Transit, and now I’m looking for a publisher. It’s historical fiction, based on actual events that took place in antebellum America. In 1854 Boston, an officer in the United States Revenue Cutter Service opposes the President’s direct order to his ship to transport a captured slave back to Virginia. He suffers the consequences of hard choices, which threaten his own life, liberty, and happiness. Set aboard a small ship in the midst of a gathering political storm, it’s the story of a man of principle in an increasingly ambivalent world, trying to do the right thing, yet struggling with the ugly truth of his own complicity in the national sin of slavery. His first real exposure to the scourge of slavery brings chaos to his ordered life, despite his desperate attempts to control it. Through his ordeal, he finds that a solitary conscience is not always the most reliable guide.

I’m now at work on my second novel, a sequel to the first, which I hope to finish in the fall of 2019.

Thanks for visiting my website. If you enjoy my blog posts and other offerings, please let me know by leaving a comment or two. When you do, let me know if you would like to receive a preview of Southern Transit. I’ll gladly send the first three chapters to you, if you’ll promise to tell me what you think.