In addition to being a writer, I enjoy literature, nautical and American Revolution history, photography, nature, bird watching, travel, cooking, wine tasting, hiking, fly-fishing, and other outdoor activities. I have published two books of travel adventures – Malachite Lion, which is about my visit to Kenya and Sychelle Islands and Chasing Wings, a 2008 Finalist for the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award in nature writing. Both books are available through my website, http://www.richardmodlin.com and from Amazon.com. My novel, Newfound Freedom, which relates the story of two English brothers, who experience a perilous Atlantic crossing and are unexpectedly drawn into the American Revolution, is completed. A synopsis of this novel is posted on this blog site’s Home page, dated April 13, 2011. While I’m shopping for an agent and/or publisher, I have begun the sequel, which is tentatively titled, Patriot Apprentice.
I find that though creative writing I can transform myself into whomever I want or transport myself to where ever I want. I’ve been doing this since grade school. But as I grew older, I took this avocation more seriously. During high school, I took a correspondence course in non-fiction writing from The Famous Writers’ School – do any or you remember this school, which was advertised in popular magazines back in the 1950s? In college I minored in English Literature, hoping this would propel me to the heights of creative writing. It didn’t. Instead I became a scientist and published over seventy scientific and technical papers in my area of expertise. But, just before I retired, I resurrected my desire for popular creative writing. I attended writers’ workshops, took several correspondence courses from the Writers’ School, creative and travel writing courses at UAHuntsville, and recently, I attended several sessions at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival. I try to be active in endeavors that promote writing. As the former 1st Vice President and Program Chair of the Alabama Writers’ Conclave, I organized the 2010 & 2011 annual AWC conferences. Presently I’m President of the AWC, but, since the AWC will again meet in Huntsville, AL, I’m organizating the 2012 conference. As Board Member of the Huntsville Literary Association I have chaired the Young Writers’ Contest from 2007-2010; presently I’m a member of the HLA Program Committee. I am also a member of the Alabama Writers’ Forum, Tennessee Mountain Writers, and Tennessee Writers’ Alliance. But, the best way I learned to improve my writing is to write. And this is what I do.
Because of my love for photography, I am an active member of the Huntsville Photographic Society and the Huntsville Art League (HAL). My photos, incuding some posted to this blog, are on display at the HAL Gallery, Studio 1, on L&N Drive in Huntsville, AL. If you are in the area please stop by.
Career wise; I’m a Professor Emeritus of Biological Sciences at The University of Alabama in Huntsville. As a marine and freshwater ecologist, I taught a variety of grad and undergrad biology courses, mentored graduate students, and did research on the lives, habits and behaviors of crustaceans and other invertebrates. I have a Bachelor and Master’s degree from the Universities of Wisconsin at Madison and Milwaukee, and a PhD from the University of Connecticut. I’ve been a Research Fellow with the US National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution and a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar. With the former I worked in the Caribbean, primarily off the coast of Belize, and the latter allowed me to spend year at the University of Lund in Sweden. But mostly, exciting students to the wonders of nature gave me the greatest pleasure during this time in my life.