Dean King

By Cheryl Miller | December 8th, 2014

BOOMER profiles the Richmond native and best-selling author.

Richmonder Dean King is the best-selling author of nine books, including Unbound (2010), Skeletons on the Zahara (2004) and Patrick O’Brian: A Life (2000). He was shot at (but not hit) along the Tug River while researching his latest tome, The Feud: The Hatfields & the McCoys: The True Story. In November 2014, the book won the nonfiction People’s Choice award at the Library of Virginia Literary Awards. That book was also the basis of a 16-part reality series on the History Channel. Dean is also the back-page columnist and contributing editor for Virginia Living, the published author of dozens of magazine articles and co-founder of James River Writers.

HIS RESEARCH: “Every writer spends a lot of time working in solitude in front of a computer. I love getting out in the field in far-flung places to discover new evidence of historical events and to soak in the culture and atmosphere from which the stories derived. The friendships and memories formed during adventures on the Sahara, in the Snowy Mountains of Western Sichuan Province and in the Appalachians keep me dreaming of future books to write and expeditions to places I have not yet visited.”

WHY HE DOES WHAT HE DOES: “I have always felt like life is for the seizing. I always wanted to be a participant, not just an observer. So loving to read made me want to write. Even back in the days of boyhood when I still wanted to be the president or a professional athlete, I also had a vague notion that I wanted to be a writer.”

INTERESTING FACT: Dean, 52, lives with his wife and four daughters in the house he grew up in with his four sisters.

NEXT PROJECT: A historical novel set in the South Pacific in the War of 1812. “The book is based in fact as well. But writing it as fiction gives me the freedom to fill in the voids and bring it to life in a different way.”

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