Fans of Vince Flynn, Lee Child, Tom Clancy and Jack Carr should check out Bowling Green author Mark Ridgely.
“I love James Bond,” Ridgely said. “’Dr. No’ and ‘The Man with a Golden Gun’ and ‘Goldfinger’, and all those movies, that’s what I grew up with.
Ridgely is an avid golfer, and he started imagining a character who played the game — and who was a Navy SEAL.
“How cool would that be? That you had a former Navy SEAL trying to be a golfer, and what if the former Navy SEAL played badly in his first tournament?
Sam Hook’s character was introduced in Ridgely’s book “Duck Hook”.
After playing golf qualifying – badly – Hook goes to the restaurant and meets the owner. Then, after returning to his restroom table, he encounters a melee and an injured woman. The ex-Navy Seal can’t help but get involved.
Hook is back for more adventures in “Center Cut.”
Bernie and Amanda Kunckleman, from Columbus, Ohio, are fishing on vacation and find several silver paddles floating in the Atlantic. They decide to keep the $35 million. Hook stays at their house, while playing at the Memorial Golf Tournament, when the drug lord decides to get his money back.
Ridgely has four more Sam Hook novels planned – with the next almost finished by hand in a journal.
Hook’s character started forming in his head years ago.
“In 2012, everything clicked into place in my mind,” he said. “I was on vacation between Christmas and New Years and wrote over 12,000 words.”
“Duck Hook” was self-released in 2016.
“Getting published is extremely difficult if you don’t have a name. So if you’re not already a brand, it’s extremely difficult,” Ridgely said. “I heard an agent say that out of 10,000 submissions, they only choose two.
“I submitted over 150 requests and got 150 rejections.”
Ridgely, however, feels compelled to tell the Sam Hook stories.
“This character just keeps bouncing around in my head,” he said. “I have this train of thought, and I keep putting pieces together, and I have to write it down. It’s almost like a recurring dream. It has to be written down.”
He said he wrote to stay sane.
“I went through a period where I struggled with my moods,” Ridgely said. “My first book was the result of all the stress I was in at work and trying to deal with that stress.
“What I found was that when I was writing ‘Duck Hook,’ all of a sudden I started feeling better,” he said. “When you go talk to a lot of authors, that’s what they’ll tell you, that’s their way of dealing with their mental health.”
Most mornings, he wakes up at 5 a.m. and writes for about 90 minutes to start the day.
“I can step into my safe space and create this illusion of reality.”
Ridgely, who is 61, has also written “Leaderboard”, “Red Cell”, “War Book” and “Why Women Hate Me”.
He has always had a passion for research and history, writing for his high school and college newspapers. Ridgely is a graduate of Woodmore High School and the University of Heidelberg at Tiffin; her college degree is in politics and government.
Most of his writing over the past 30 years has been for business communication. He started his own insurance and real estate business after college. After 17 years, he sold the business.
Most recently, Ridgely was purchasing manager for Barnes Group, which sells industrial springs. He considers himself semi-retired.
He and his wife, Becky, who is a first grade teacher for local Lakota schools, have two daughters, Hannah and Kirsten, and live in Bowling Green.
When not writing, Ridgely can be found at the Stone Ridge Golf Club links.
If you’re not interested in reading a new thriller, Ridgely said there are so many more authors than regulars on bestseller lists.
“Go find a book you like and read it. Go find another one and read it. There are a million new books released every year, so go find something you want to read.