Stuart Woods, a prolific, prizewinning thriller author who churned out a number of greatest sellers throughout what his memoir duly described as “an extravagant life,” died on July 22 at his dwelling in Washington, Conn. He was 84.
The loss of life was confirmed by his spouse, Jeanmarie Woods, his solely fast survivor. She didn’t specify a trigger.
Mr. Woods, who was additionally a swashbuckling licensed personal jet aircraft pilot and trans-Atlantic sailor with houses in New York, Maine and Florida, tacked into his profession as a novelist considerably haphazardly.
However as soon as he turned a author, he parlayed a $7,500 advance for his first novel, “Chiefs,” in 1981 into an award-winning profession as a one-man fiction manufacturing unit, turning out as many as 5 thrillers a 12 months, one in all which turned the premise of a six-hour CBS mini-series in 1983.
His oeuvre over 4 a long time included dozens of New York Occasions greatest sellers that includes, amongst different characters, Stone Barrington, a suave, libidinous New York lawyer and former police detective; Ed Eagle, a Santa Fe protection lawyer; William Henry Lee IV, a Georgia senator who’s elected president; Holly Barker, a retired Military main and Florida police chief recruited by the C.I.A.; and Rick Barron, a police detective who turns into chief of manufacturing for a Hollywood studio within the Thirties.
Mr. Woods additionally wrote a journey guide, “A Romantic’s Information to the Nation Inns of Britain and Eire” (1979).
“I’ve a fevered creativeness,” he informed The New York Occasions in 1999. “And a wealthy fantasy life, which helps with the intercourse scenes.”
He usually wrote two hours a day, till about midday, turning out as a lot as a full chapter in that point. Earlier than submitting a guide, he mentioned, he’d full “a half-dozen chapters at first and a short synopsis of the remainder, and ship it to my writer.”
“Once they settle for that,” he added, “then I ignore the synopsis and do no matter I would like.”
His memoir, “An Extravagant Life,” was revealed in June.
Referring to Mr. Woods’s “clockwork” manufacturing, the Occasions critic Janet Maslin likened him to a preferred and equally industrious romance novelist, calling him “the Nora Roberts of thriller best-sellerdom.”
Mr. Woods and his character Stone Barrington each frequented Elaine’s, the literary hangout on Manhattan’s Higher East Facet. To maintain the saloon alive at one level, Mr. Woods tried to purchase it from its salty proprietor, Elaine Kaufman, when it was struggling financially.
Elaine’s finally closed, in 2011, however Mr. Woods’s muse remained unencumbered.
“I’ve a concept that writers block is the concern that the guide will not be going to be nearly as good as you’ve been telling your entire associates,” he mentioned, “so when you by no means end, they by no means discover you out.” He added, “It takes a concerted act of will, day by day, that you simply work on it.”
Stuart Chevalier Lee was born on Jan. 9, 1938, in west-central Manchester, Ga., to Dorothy (Callaway) Lee, a church organist, and Stuart Franklin Lee, a gasoline station proprietor who fled to a different state after robbing a bottling plant when his son was 2. When Stuart was 6, his mom married Angier David Woods, and the boy took his stepfather’s surname.
After graduating from the College of Georgia with a level in sociology in 1959, Mr. Woods served within the Air Nationwide Guard. He migrated to New York to grow to be a journalist however wound up working for an promoting company there, then in London.
He later moved to Eire, the place he started to write down his first novel. However he was quickly diverted when he turned enamored with crusing and commenced racing. In 1976, in a race from Plymouth, England, to Newport, R.I., that took him 45 days, he completed about in the course of the sector.
He then wrote a nonfiction account of the race, “Blue Water, Inexperienced Skipper,” and, after returning to Georgia, bought the American rights to W.W. Norton & Firm. It additionally agreed to publish “Chiefs,” the thriller that Mr. Woods had begun eight years earlier.
“Chiefs,” he mentioned, had been impressed by his discovery, at age 9, of his grandfather’s police chief badge within the household’s attic. The grandfather had been sporting the badge, bloodied and pitted by shotgun pellets, when he was killed in 1927 in a case of mistaken identification by a gunman delirious with malaria.
The plot revolves round three generations of regulation enforcement officers, starting with a cotton farmer who’s anointed a police chief within the Nineteen Twenties and tasked with fixing a teen’s ritual homicide.
“Chiefs” received an Edgar Allan Poe Award for greatest first novel from the Thriller Writers of America and was tailored into the CBS mini-series, which starred Charlton Heston, Danny Glover and Billy Dee Williams.
In 2010, Mr. Woods acquired a Grand Prix de Littérature Policière, France’s most prestigious award for crime and detective fiction, for his novel “Imperfect Strangers.”
His first three marriages led to divorce. He married Jeanmarie Cooper in 2013.
Mr. Woods was deeply dedicated to the Writer’s Guild, knowledgeable group, recalling the assist he acquired from it as a fledgling writer. He appreciated his readers, too, though his endurance with them generally wore skinny.
In “Darkish Harbor,” Mr. Woods wrote enigmatically: “Whoever had killed Dick and his household had vacuumed as he left the home by the terrace door. Very neat fellow. Very sensible, too.” The passage left quite a few readers bewildered.
However in additional than one interview, Mr. Woods was unwilling to play Holmes to the reader’s Watson.
“Don’t ask in regards to the vacuum cleaner,” he wrote on his web site, “and earlier than you ask questions in regards to the plots of some other novels, keep in mind: I by no means clarify! It’s all within the guide, determine it out!”