After 35 years in computer-service management, Centreville's Richard Haddock has embarked on a new career in his retirement: Author.
Haddock, 58, of Country Club Manor, recently published his fifth book, "The Family." And all of his novels have come out in the last year-and-a-half. Actually, he's been writing for 15 years.
"I'd done lots of technical writing and written proposals at work, and I wrote to get my doctorate in business and behavioral science from George Washington University in 1980," he said. "So I was interested in seeing what I could do with fiction."
Besides "The Family," Haddock's four other books are intriguingly titled, "Maggie Dayton," "The Ninth Sabbat," "Arkalalah" and "Bafo." They include a couple murder mysteries, a political/business thriller and a family melodrama.
The characters in "The Family" are a composite of relatives and other people he's known. "I put them together to deal with the issues families deal with," he said. "In this case, it's a son who comes back as a ghost." The story is about the son's death and how the bonds of his grieving family are tested by it. It's also about the tremendous healing power of love.
Set in Manassas, it's told from the son's perspective, which is similar to the storytelling technique employed by best-selling author Alice Sebold in "The Lovely Bones." But, said Haddock, "I wrote this long before that one came out. Mine's a little more lighthearted. It deals with life, and it's a humorous family — that's the thread that allows them to get through [the tragedy]."
It took him a year to write, plus "a long time" to revise. It was then published by Writers Club Press, an Internet-based publishing company. (Books are only printed after they're ordered). It may be purchased at iuniverse.com by entering his name. Haddock also has a Web site, www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/.
He's already working on two more books, a love story and a boy's coming-of-age, and says response to his novels, so far, has been "pretty great." His book, "Arkalalah," was based on a murder that took place in a small town in Kansas where he was born and raised. So, he said, "I sold a lot of books there." Haddock said "Arkalalah" is an Indian name for a celebration held in that town each year at Halloween.
He and his wife Marilyn have a son and daughter. Christopher, 32, is a history teacher and varsity baseball coach at Chantilly High, and Tiffany, 31, is a therapist at The Phillips School for emotionally disturbed children.
Haddock coached SYA baseball, soccer and basketball for 10 years and, this season, will join his son at Chantilly as assistant baseball coach. Things should get especially interesting when the team plays West Springfield — where Haddock's son-in-law, Ken Munoz, is head baseball coach.
In whatever spare time's left, Haddock also enjoys playing golf. And his advice to aspiring writers is "never give up."