Author First Wrote Love Letters for a Fee

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Author: Gloria Galloway
Editor: Jeffrey W. Hunter
Date: 2001
Publisher: Gale
Document Type: Critical essay
Length: 1,947 words

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[(review date 7 April 1968) In the following essay, Galloway traces Hoffman's early experiences as a writer, his relationship with his wife, and discusses with the author aspects of Hoffman's house in the town of Charlotte Court House, Virginia.]

Author William Hoffman, who got his "professional" writing start composing love letters for classmates at the tender age of 16, now finds himself cast in the role of country squire.

As author-in-residence at Hampden-Sydney College, he teaches creative writing, a field dear to his heart, and as the owner of "Wynard," a pre Civil War house, he is living the life he likes.

"We looked for this kind of a house from the day we were married," said Hoffman's wife Sue, who is fond of horses and antiques. "I came to an auction at the house next door and found out about this one. We moved in five years ago."

Built about 1832, the main section of the house in Charlotte Court House was later enlarged. The house came complete with ghost.

"We scoffed of course, and didn't believe in ghosts," Mrs. Hoffman explained pertly, then added in a matter of fact voice, "but we have heard footsteps upstairs, and one night about 1 or 2 a.m. I heard someone come halfway down the stairs and then stop. I checked and both of the girls were sound asleep."

"He's benign and benevolent, but he's here," commented Hoffman, with an amused smile.

The Hoffmans have two children, Ruth, 9, and Margaret, 6. They also have eight horses, a pony, and 50 acres of rolling countryside.

A courteous, friendly man, Hoffman looks the part of a college teacher. His English is precise, but a warmth and feeling for many subjects, especially people, comes through when he speaks.

The author of five published novels, Hoffman is presently putting finishing touches on a sixth, and has also written a play. The novels, all published by Doubleday & Co., Inc., are The Trumpet Unblown. Days in the Yellow Leaf, A Place for My Head, The Dark Mountains, and Yancey's War. His latest not-yet published work concerns a minister accused of wrongdoing.

He has also written short stories for such publications as Ladies' Home Journal, Playboy and Cosmopolitan. His interest in drama is a recent development.

"I feel that one of my strongest points is dialogue, and I can really turn it loose when I write a play," he explained.

The name of his play, a serious drama, is The Love Touch, and it has already been performed at the Barter Theater in Abingdon. He is interested in finding theater groups to perform his works, and says he feels a need to ally himself with the theater.

"But," he mused, "it is hard to find the right doors."

One of the first floor bedrooms in the Hoffman house has been converted into an office, and it is here that the author writes...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|H1100038760