As a mathematics professor at the University of Akron, Douglas Cameron was accustomed to working with numerical equations and mathematical theories. Since retiring in 1998, however, he has done an about face and his time has become much more about words than numbers.
Cameron recently published two new books, which brings the total number of books he has out to four. He will appear at Blue Phoenix Books in downtown Alpena on Friday from 5-7 p.m. to do a book signing for his young adult novel, "Muddy Waters," and his latest adult mystery, "The Body in Perch Pond."
"I'm having a ball really," said Cameron of his writing efforts. Despite his status as a professor emeritus of mathematics, he said he has enjoyed writing all of his life, though he didn't start writing in earnest until his career was behind him.
"I've written all my life, short stories mainly," he said. "I was just dabbling. When I was a Scout, I would write articles for Boy's Life that never got published. And I wrote a science fiction novel back in 1976."
Upon retirement, the writing process did not come easy at first.
"When I retired, I just started writing," Cameron said. "My first book took basically 10 years to write. I couldn't come to grips with the bad guy. I couldn't get a handle on him. In the meantime, I wrote a second book, 'Payback is a Bitch.' I wrote it in three months. It is a Monte Cristo kind of story. Since then, the juices have flowed. I can sit down and write without any problem at all. It gives me something to do in my retirement."
"Muddy Waters - An Up North Adventure" is the story of the growth of an enduring friendship between two 13-year-old boys from totally diverse backgrounds: Chris "Muddy" Waters and Joshua Beiler, who is Amish. Their friendship starts when Muddy saves Joshua's life and it builds as they set out in the woods near their farm homes in search of an elusive cougar that supposedly is non-existent according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. What they encounter could get them killed.
"The Body Under the Ice An Up North Mystery" is Cameron's second book about life in the environs of Hibbard Pond. An ice fisherman reels in a piece of human flesh and divers recover a body sunk in the lake in a crate made of wooden slates. The ensuing investigation by Sheriff Nathanial Jefferson and his deputies starts with its focus on any Canadians living around the lake since the dead man was French Canadian.
An elderly woman suffering from either Alzhiemer's or dementia and a rotund naturalized American with a strong Greek heritage are found to have grown up in the same Canadian orphanage as the dead man. When the investigation gets too close to the killer, an attempt is made to silence the investigating deputy.
Besides writing his own books, Cameron is a big fan of the mystery genre, and counts Lee Childs, Mary Higgins Clark, Philip Craig, Sue Grafton, Clive Cussler, Brad Thor and John Sanford among his favorites. He and his wife, Nancy, had an opportunity to meet Craig on one of their trips and ended up becoming good friends with the author, who penned mysteries set on Martha's Vineyard.
Cameron's previous two books are "Payback is a Bitch" and "The Body Under the Ice." He expects a fifth book, "Payback: Time to Die...Again" to come out in October and is at work on another young adult novel that deals with witches and a legend.
A native of Oak Ridge, Tenn., Cameron attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, received his Master's Degree at the University of Akron and his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech. He spends six months of the year at the couple's retirement home on Hubbard Lake, and the remaining months residing in a suburb of Akron, Ohio.
"I write at both places," he said. "A lot of my writing is done in the winter time. I try to fish as much as I can come summer time."
He and his wife also enjoy traveling.
Cameron's books are available at Blue Phoenix Books and online at amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com. They are available in paperback format and as eBooks for both Kindle and Nook readers. Paperbacks range in price from $18 to $19. Books also may be ordered from Cameron's web site, books.dragonweir.com.