Retirement doesn't erase the Write Stuff
"But," he adds, "it's a really neat experience."
When the longtime staff member at the Peterborough-based Monadnock Ledger-Transcript retired in 2008, he set out to become the type of writer he'd always dreamed of being. But instead of publishing a long-planned suspense novel, he wound up writing about his 17 years as a beat reporter covering his hometown of Jaffrey and nearby Rindge.
"I always had it in the back of my mind I would like to be a writer, but I never got around to it; I was too busy making a living," Poor said of his belated career transition.
It was his passion for outdoor sports, he said, that led him into newspapers. Poor answered an ad for a columnist in the Ledger-Transcript, and the rest was history - or, in this case, his story.
The Ledger-Transcript liked his work enough to make him a full-time reporter a few years later, but that required some on-the-job training.
Along the way, he became passionate about photography, eventually purchasing his own digital camera when access to the staff camera shared among reporters and sales people became difficult. It all paid off as he wound up winning numerous journalism and photography awards, including "columnist of the year" recognition from the New Hampshire Press Association.
"When you think about it, that's three 100,000-word novels a year," he said.
Upon retirement, however, he discovered that crafting works of fiction is more time-consuming than cranking out deadline-driven news stories. He persevered, though, and five years after leaving the Ledger-Transcript, he has completed his first novel, the opening tome in a planned three-part suspense series. He's written a draft of Part 2 and outlined the third book.
Poor has a literary agent but as yet no publisher for the series.
The book is full of anecdotes and insights into the community and what it's like to work for a small newspaper, a job Poor grew to love despite the small paychecks and unpredictable hours.
After years of listening to the scanner and rushing to the scene of accidents and fires, Poor continues to do so, but now as the Rindge Fire and Rescue Department's official photographer, public information officer and recently certified EMT.
"Working at the Word Factory" can be purchased at www.hobblebush.com. You can read samples of Poor's writing, including excerpts of his novel, "Beyond Bethlehem," at www.ericpoor.com. He also has several upcoming readings scheduled, including Aug. 1 at 6 p.m. at the Nelson Town Library and Aug. 10 at 11 a.m. at the Toadstool Bookshop in Keene.
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