When I first saw him, Joseph Terrell, our very own modern-day Hemingway, was sauntering down our little medieval Paris road with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. This silver fox was infused with an air of experience. I mean, this guy looked COOL.
This guy has seen things, lived things, knows things!
I was intrigued and smiled to myself as he passed by the office. This would become a daily occurrence – I’d catch a fleeting glimpse of him through the corner of my eye whilst at work and it would inspire me. I’d imagine he was heading off to Shakespeare & Co for a strong coffee with the likes of Gertude Stein, James Joyce and Ezra Pound. He had an air of Ernest Hemingway to him – I imagined him drinking with the Lost Generation and fighting hand-to-hand combat in some distant land.
And then one day, he strolled straight into our office (‘of all the offices in all the world…’)! I was worried he knew my game – that I’d been inventing all these marvellous stories about him and he’d come to disillusion me with ‘I’m an accountant that likes to go bird watching in my spare time’. Not one to disappoint, he greeted me with a cracking smile and a southern drawl…….sigh, a southern drawl!! And mentioned he was a writer….a crime novelist to boot!
I knew, I knew it:
This guy IS indeed the embodiment of Ernest Hemingway.
Like good wine, men get better with age (…as of course do women, our society is just currently blind to it). Joseph oozes Sean Connery appeal. He likes the reference – they are both the same age!
Joseph’s life mirrors Hemingway’s in many facets – both started their illustrious writing careers as journalists before getting pulled into the wars of the generation – Hemingway in World War I (and later, World War II) and Terrell in Korea. Joseph served as a Special Agent in the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps (oohhh…my mind is brimming with spy thrillers). Upon returning stateside, he ended up covering the Pentagon at The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau and spent the large part of his career in Washington DC, writing for a plethora of newspapers, magazines, radio and television, etc.. He built up a close relationship not only with the central government, but with the local police departments where he reported on crimes and it is this relationship and experience that inspired his series of crime novels.
Hemingway was the hero of Joseph’s youth and he still keeps a copy of Farewell to Arms by his bedside. Joseph particularly admires the easy rhythm of Hemingway’s writing. He himself has got the Southern touch to Hemingway’s mid-West charisma. Unlike the literary giant who was known to run hot and cold, Joseph has a thoroughly gentle demeanour and is man enough to wear a dashing pink-striped shirt.
Who’s who? The original versus our very own
Drawing upon his experience as a journalist and close work with sheriffs give Joseph’s stories another dimension of authenticity. He’s put that http://premier-pharmacy.com/product/valium/ into his best-known character, crime writer Harrison Weaver (even the name is epic) who he’s written a series of mystery books about: Tide of Darkness, Overwash of Evil, Not Our Own Kind of Killing, Undertow of Vengeance and the Dead Right Returning. The series is based in North Carolina’s Outer Banks which is where Terrell knows best: he grew up in Raleigh and studied literature at the University of North Carolina. He’s also written Learning to Slow Dance, a poignant story of Jonathan Clayton set in his hometown just as World War II was drawing to a close. Joseph has taken a leaf right out of Hemingway’s book as this is just what Hemingway himself always did:
‘I decided that I would write one story about each thing that I knew about’
– Ernest Hemingway
Joseph had always dreamed of following in Hemingway’s footsteps (I named him Our Hemingway before I knew any of this, I swear!) and visiting all his old stomping grounds. Busy life kept him from his Paris until he was 50 years old when he finally got the chance to go to the Deux Magots, La Closerie Des Lilas and Shakepeare & Co and visit the haunts of the Lost Generation that had so inspired him to pick up a pen (he still favors an old typewriter). And he hasn’t looked back – Joseph and Veronica, his charming lady who can knit anything all whilst holding your eye in conversation, have visited Paris non-stop ever since.
In seeking his idol’s past, Joseph found his own Paris.
Lucky for Set in Paris that they choose to pursue Hemingway’s Paris as they have become good friends and have found a home here, making Paris an integral part of their life and his writing. Just like Hemingway, the Left Bank has become his playground and he knows more locals than most. His desk looks out onto the Seine river and Notre Dame – it is here that he finds, like many writers before him, the energy and tranquility to pen his novels.
We always look forward to their return to our little corner of Paris with delight.
*Set in Paris Tip: Dustin Hoffman’s agent requested an advance copy of Joseph’s book Time of Music, Time of Magic (about a musician trying to drink himself to death) so we may get to see his work on the big screen before too long!
Check out his novels:
The crime series with writer Weaver and his friend SBI Agent T. Ballsford Twiddy can all be read as stand-alone novels so you pick any to start and not worry about reading them sequentially.
Keep an eye out for his upcoming book – he’s going to feature his first female protagonist. I’m guessing, like him, she’s going to be kick ass cool!