Dr. Fred Eichelman – a local author, former educator and historian – recently published Mrs. Hudson’s Cat, his latest book.
The novel is an addition to the Holmesian mythos. Eichelman describes it as “a short, fast, no-extraneous-nonsense tale of a holiday criminal crisis told through the eyes of a cat.”
When explaining the premise of the book, Dr. Eichelman noted, “Mrs. Hudson’s Cat is special because it combines three things we have always enjoyed in tales. A Sherlock Holmes mystery, a cat and Christmas. The greatest character emphasis is on Martha Irene Hudson and second to her is the return of Irene Adler.”
Born in 1935, Eichelman, 83, spent his formative years in Cleveland, Ohio. Before getting his Master’s Degree from the University of Virginia and his Doctorate from Virginia Tech, Eichelman spent his college undergraduate years at Bridgewater College in Western Virginia.
Since 1964, Eichelman and his wife Carolyn have lived in Salem. While his wife taught at the Academy Street and Carver in the late 1960s, Dr. Eichelman served as Principal at the old South Salem School on Front Street. Carolyn received her bachelor’s from Radford University and Master’s from Virginia Tech. After retirement, Eichelman began writing for various publications.
Eichelman’s writing process differs depending on the project that he is working on. Faith, Family, Film a Teacher’s Trek took less than three months to complete because Eichelman already had albums full of articles and pictures. A Cat’s Tale of a Rescued Kitty took a little longer because several pages worth of notes had to be transcribed.
“Valerie in Giantland was done for my late friend Deanna Lund and was based on the TV show Land of the Giants. That was my first novel. It was science fiction, and took about four months,” Eichelman said.
Mistakes are inevitable when writing a book. The way Eichelman sees it, “standard writers enjoy the process of using words to tell a story; good writers routinely work on their craft and are open to constructive criticism.”
Dr. Eichelman has some advice for aspiring writers.
“I encourage people to get into a habit of writing every single day. It doesn’t have to be particularly long, but it does need to be daily. It’s also important to write about things that personally resonate with you. Sometimes the hardest part is taking the first step,” he said. “Reach out to people doing exactly what you want to do and try to cultivate a relationship. That is also extremely important.”
Eichelman considers his wife his biggest inspiration. “She is not just my best friend, she is my muse too,” he said. “She reads over all of my materials and always renders valuable feedback. I couldn’t have chosen a better life partner.”
Several of Dr. Eichelman’s books are available in print and Kindle format on Amazon. Paperback and audiobook versions are also available. For more information, visitdrfredeichelman.com. Dr. Eichelman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.