From furniture salesman to mystery writer
Jack Fredrickson, whose mysteries, reviewers say, have the right mix of humor, interesting plot and good characters, will discuss his third book during "Dining for Dewey's, a fundraiser for the Hinsdale Public Library on Nov. 3.
Meet the author
Who: Jack Fredrickson, president of Friends of the Library
What: Dining at Dewey’s
When: 7 p.m. Nov. 3
Where: Hinsdale Public Library, 20 E. Maple St.
Why: Event to raise money for Hinsdale Public Library Foundation
How: Tickets are $150 and include wine, music, food from Reel Club Oak Brook and a silent auction. Call Michaela Haaberkern at (630) 570-4210.
Updated: December 2, 2012 6:11AM
HINSDALE — Jack Fredrickson of Hinsdale was past 50 when he started writing fiction.
Although he had written a few business books, he did not dream of becoming a best-selling author. He had worked as an industrial engineering manager for Molex in Lisle, before starting an office furnishings and commercial flooring company in Hinsdale.
One day, after he had a furious argument with one of his salesman at the office furniture store, who then stormed out, Fredrickson stayed at work.
He sat down at the receptionist’s typewriter and began writing about an image that had occurred to him awhile back in a daydream: a roof blowing off a house as though from an explosion.
“I typed out a scenario about that roof lifting off and flames below, and that moment turned into another moment and it became very calming,” Fredrickson said
He added some characters to the scene and wrote a couple of pages.
“I put them in a drawer and drove home, feeling very relaxed,” he said.
He didn’t think about his writing that night or during work the next day. But after 5 p.m., he sat down again at the typewriter and started redoing what he had written.
“It went on like that for about a year and a half,” Fredrickson said. “The brightest part of my workday was when the workday ended and I started writing fiction.”
Writing became an “obsession,” Fredrickson said. He developed his first idea into a novel with private investigator Dek Elstrom as the main character. But he put the manuscript away in a drawer when he was finished.
“I never thought I would be published,” he said. “What matters is the process. I wanted to learn how fiction worked.”
When he and a friend confided they each had been writing, they decided to take a writing class at College of DuPage called, “Beginning short story.”
In that class, Fredrickson produced “an oddball story,” called “The Brick Thing.”
Fredrickson reworked and rewrote that story for years.
In December 2001, he mailed off his short story to the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
When he received an acceptance letter in April, saying “The Brick Thing” would be published, “that then changed the way I looked at this novel in the drawer,” Fredrickson said.
He took more writing classes and continued to refine the novel.
In 2006, St. Martin’s Minotaur published it under the title, A Safe Place for Dying.
Since then, he has written two more well-reviewed mysteries featuring Dek Elstrom, clever plots and amusing observations.
“I like Dek,” Fredrickson said. “He’s fun. I like his cast of friends. He has a real goofy sidekick. He has a relationship with his ex-wife. The people in there have interesting quirks and that’s fun to go out a little farther on the ledge.”