About Chris Culver

If you’re at this page, you want to know a little more about me. I suppose it’s best to start at the beginning. I was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but I remember little about my birth. My mother says it was excruciating, and I take her at her word. I’m not sure she’s ever forgiven me for it. My father was buying tires when I entered the world for the first time, and I don’t think my mom’s forgiven him for that, either.

We lived in Tulsa for a little while, after which we moved to Chickasaw, Oklahoma. My memories of Chickasaw are fuzzy but pleasant. Among them, I remember skipping church choir practice and playing in the elevator with the pastor’s daughter. I also remember informing that pastor that if a tornado hit the town, we’d be in deep shit, a tidbit my father had told me the night before. Perhaps most importantly, I remember having a wonderful first grade teacher named Mrs. York, who taught me how to read. I never thanked her for that, and I wish I had.

When I was seven, my family moved to Newburgh, a small town along the Ohio River in southern Indiana. I had a nice childhood; sheltered, quiet, comfortable. It was everything a kid could ask for, especially one who wanted to become a writer.

In elementary school, my favorite author was J.R.R. Tolkien, but Stephen King was a close second. The young adult book market back then wasn’t as strong as it is now, so interesting age-appropriate material was hard to find. I used to sneak their books beneath my desk and read when the teacher spoke. I never liked school; it felt like a waste of time, both my teachers’ and mine. Because of that, I rarely did my homework.

I made an exception, though, for our monthly book reports in fifth and sixth grade. For Halloween one year, my fifth-grade teacher required us to read something “scary” and report back to the class on what made it scary. Most of the kids read ghost stories and told the class about things that go bump in the night. I read The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton and gave a presentation about the horrors of biological warfare. After receiving a B- on the assignment, I decided to quit school and seek my fortune elsewhere. My parents decided otherwise.

After high school, I attended Hanover College and met my future wife. I majored in philosophy because those classes started later in the day. After college, I went to law school but decided I didn’t want to become a lawyer. After that, I enrolled in a PhD program in philosophy but left when a small university in Arkansas offered my wife a position on their faculty.

While in Arkansas, I was lucky enough to get a teaching position at the same university that employed my wife. I taught classes in ethics, the philosophy of religion, and religious studies, giving me the opportunity to interact with students and people I rarely encountered. I grew up in a middle-class home in southern Indiana, but many of my students came from a different world. Many came from rural areas where crushing, multi-generational poverty was simply another part of life, while others came from urban areas as rough as any I’ve ever heard of.

In just my first semester of teaching, I had three students who had to take time off class because they had to testify as witnesses in criminal trials, I had two students who were arrested and prosecuted for major felonies, and I had one student - a smart, quiet girl who sat in the back of my Introduction to Philosophy class - who was murdered.

I wrote my first Ash Rashid novel while in Arkansas. I was twenty-six years old when I donned my teacher’s hat, barely older than some of my students. At times, they made me feel almost guilty for my cushy life. More than that, though, they made me feel proud. Despite the hardships they went through, they came back day after day and did whatever they could to follow their dreams. I liked that; hell, I admired that.

I couldn’t have become the writer I am without them. I created Ash Rashid because of those students. He came from a similar world, and in a lot of ways, he’s my idea of a hero. He doesn’t have special powers or abilities, but he tries his best to do what’s right. People ask me if he’s based on a real person. He’s not, but I hope there are people like him out there. The world needs people like that.

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