As a 12-year-old, Seguin-born and Corpus Christi-bred Charles Boeckman won an essay contest at school. He says he was blown away by the cash prize: a quarter.
After he won that contest, Boeckman says he decided he wasn’t going to spend his life working for someone else. Instead, he would become a freelance writer.
Boeckman’s natural love of reading served as the bedrock for his self-education. He also read and studied the great writers, psychologists and philosophers.
Boeckman started his writing career by selling children’s stories to newspapers. Then, he moved on to the “pulps,” which were wildly popular short story magazines printed on cheap, pulpy paper. They sold for ten or fifteen cents. Boeckman carved out a name for himself as a mystery/suspense and western short story author.
To make a living from the pulps, one had to produce fast, so Boeckman learned to write “first draft” – meaning no revisions. His pulp editors praised him for the great emotional tone he produced in his tales.
Pulps were published from the 1930’s until the 1950’s, when new technology turned many readers into television fans. When the pulps had their last hurrah during the advent of television, Boeckman was able to adapt to other markets and just keep on selling. Two of his stories were made into episodes for national TV: one on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and the other on Celebrity Playhouse.
In addition to his writing, Boeckman was also an accomplished musician. He taught himself to play both the saxophone and the clarinet. He began playing professionally while still in high school. Later, he put together his own highly popular band, which he ran for forty years. Many of his written stories feature a musician as the main character.
Versatility being one of his many talents, Boeckman wrote for the soaring romance novel market of the 1980’s. He collaborated with his wife on twenty-five Silhouette Romances, which sold over two million copies worldwide.
Along with the Silhouette romances, Boeckman wrote non-fiction books and articles, as well as confession stories. When the markets changed, he changed his approach. All he had to do was read a couple of books or articles of a given genre, and he instantly picked up the formula.
His writing took him and his wife on trips all over the United States soaking up backgrounds for novels and generating new ideas for other markets.
Boeckman has written under various pseudonyms, including, Charles Beckman and Charles Beckman, Jr. His biography, The Real Jazz of a Pulp Man’s Life: The Charles Boeckman Story, is currently in production by Bold Venture Press.
Boeckman’s philosophy is that if you are doing something you love to do, you never feel as if you’re working. Instead, you are living the dream.