Cut out to be an author: Ridgely is compelled to tell stories

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, is what I grew up with.”

Ridgely is an avid golfer and he started envisioning a character who played the game — and who was a Navy SEAL.

“How cool would that be? That you would have a former Navy SEAL trying to be a golfer, and then what would happen if the former Navy SEAL would play bad in his first tournament?”

The character Sam Hook was introduced in Ridgely’s book “Duck Hook.”

After playing a golf qualifier — poorly — Hook goes to restaurant and meets the owner. Then, after coming back to his table from the restroom, 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 pallets of money floating in the Atlantic. They decide to keep the $35 million. Hook is staying at their house, while playing in 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 one almost completed in longhand in a journal.

The Hook character started forming in his head years ago.

“In 2012, it all clicked together in my mind,” he said. “I was on vacation between Christmas and New Year’s and I wrote over 12,000 words.”

“Duck Hook” was self-published in 2016.

“Getting published is extremely difficult, if you don’t have a name. So if you’re not a brand already, it’s extremely difficult,” Ridgely said. “I heard an agent say out of 10,000 submissions, they only pick two.

“I submitted over 150 queries and I have 150 rejections.”

Ridgely, though, feels compelled to tell the Sam Hook stories.

“This character is just bouncing around in my head,” he said. “I have this train of thought, and I keep putting pieces together, and I’ve got to write this down. It’s like a reoccurring dream almost. It has to be written.”

He said he writes to keep sane.

“I went through a period of time when I was struggling with my moods,” Ridgely said. “My first book was the result of all the stress I was under at work and trying to deal with that stress.

“What I found is that when I was writing ‘Duck Hook,’ all of a sudden I started feeling better,” he said. “When you go and talk to a lot of authors, that’s what they’ll tell you, that it’s their way of managing their sanity.”

Most mornings, he’ll be up at 5 a.m. and write for about 90 minutes to start the day.

“I can go 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’s 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 Heidelberg University in Tiffin; his college degree is in politics and government.

Most of his writing over the past 30 years was for business communication. He started his own business in insurance and real estate after college. After 17 years, he sold the business.

Most recently, Ridgely was a 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 Lakota Local Schools, have two daughters, Hannah and Kirsten, and live in Bowling Green.

When not writing, Ridgely can be found on the Stone Ridge Golf Club links.

If you’re not interested in reading a new thriller, Ridgely said there are so many more authors out there than the regulars on the best-seller lists.

“Go find a book that you like and read it. Go find another one and read it. There’s a million new books published every year, so go find something you want to read.”

Meet Mark Ridgely

The author will have copies of his book available for purchase and signing on Sept. 10 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. outside of Novel Blends, 116 S. Main St.

This is also the one-year anniversary of Novel Blends, a coffee shop and bookstore.

Ridgely will also be one of 20 authors at a Parking Lot Party & Author Fair on Sept. 11 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Gathering Volumes, 196 E. South Boundary St., Perrysburg. This year’s fair includes parking lot games, a coffee truck, live painting by local artists and author readings. Food will be available, with proceeds going toward funding the 2nd annual Northwest Ohio Teen Book Festival, along with craft beer samples.

Ridgely’s books are also available on Amazon.com.