87-year-old Aurora resident enjoys writing, reading books

by SOPHIE KRUSE | REPORTER Published:

Aurora -- Bill Tucker had one plan for retirement -- to write books. To do so, he and his wife Betty decided to move to Aurora from Cleveland, which he decided was a pleasant place to spend his retirement.

In his 21 years in Aurora, he's more than achieved that goal, and has published five books.

He has released three novels -- "Running Through the Sprinklers," "Moonglow" and Widow's Walk," -- a collection of short fiction titled "Goodbye World" and a memoir titled "Sing To Me, Betty Lee."

All books have been self-published, but Tate Publishing and Enterprises will release "Moonglow" and "Widow's Walk" nationwide. They will be available on the publisher's website or Amazon.com.

At 87 years old, Tucker takes inspiration from people and places that he has encountered in his life.

In "Widow's Walk," Tucker describes a large house with a widow's walk -- a small platform on the roof where women would stand and look out to sea to see if their husbands were coming back from war. It was a home he observed when he was younger.

Many of the characters in his books are based on people in his life. Two of the main characters in "Widow's Walk" are based off two people he encountered at a child.

Another of his inspirations is his wife. The couple, who were high school sweethearts, have been married 70 years and have three children, eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

"Moonglow" features a river where the two main characters spend some of their time, and is reminiscent of a place Tucker and Betty spend some of their time together. "The moonglow on the water was just so romantic," he said.

"Goodbye World" features about 15 short stories, one of which was inspired by his grandfather.

Tucker was inspired to write the memoir "Sing to Me, Betty Lee" after his son urged him to put his life on paper. The title, of course, is an ode to his wife. "I used to sing in school," said Betty. "I think that's when he really began to notice me."

While he had always been a lover of the written word, Tucker spent his life as an engineer, a professor at Tulane University and a publisher with Penton in Cleveland, which was a publisher of a variety of technical magazines, including "Computer Aided Engineering."

He wrote his first novel when he was 19, working as a radio officer on a ship during World War II. "I had to stay on watch the whole time and I didn't have a lot to do," he said.

In his time, Tucker penned a love story. He showed a few of the men on the ship, and it received less than stellar reviews. "So I fed the pages into the wind," he said.

The captain on his ship, also a lover of books, gave him a list of 150 must-read novels. Tucker has read them all, and keeps the list. He credits the captain for being a part of his love for books and writing.

Tucker estimates that he's read more than 2,000 books in his life. His favorites authors include William Faulkner and Thomas Wolfe. While he doesn't plan to write any more books, he still will enjoy reading them.

"I'm going to keep on reading," he said.

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