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Jack Massa to speak to group in June

Jack Massa will speak at the June 5 meeting of the Sarasota Fiction Writers at Selby Library. The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and is open to the public. Massa will discuss five ways skillful writers can convey backstory while keeping dramatic momentum.

Jack Massa was born in Bayonne, New Jersey, and grew up with Zorro, Davy Crockett, and Robin Hood. At age four he sometimes dressed up as Zorro and hid behind the bushes until the older kids came home from school, then swooped down on them waving a plastic sword. “Look out,” they cried. “It’s Zorro!”

At age five, Massa had to go into the hospital for two weeks. He was okay with that until a nurse took away his Superman comics.

At age 12, Massa and his two best friends drew lots to decide which Marvel superhero they would be. Jack won and became Spiderman. His friends, Thor and the Hulk, were jealous.

At age 18, Jack matriculated at New College in Sarasota. While there he co-directed a student film version of “The Three Musketeers,” composed the lyrics for a rock opera on the life of Buddha and wrote two fantasy novels. After graduating he went to the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and earned an MFA in creative writing. His thesis was a science fantasy novel, “Mooncrow,” which was published by Berkley Books in 1979.

Jack spent the next 30 years in Atlanta, learning and practicing the magical skills of the digital age. Bits of his fiction and poetry also surfaced from time to time. His science fiction story, “PrayerWare,” was published in the first Bantam Books “Full Spectrum” Anthology in 1988, and was later selected for a British Best-of-the-Year collection.

In 2013, Jack returned to Florida, where he lives with his magical wife, wonderful son, and a pet orange tree named Grover. He continues to practice technical prestidigitation while also focusing on writing stories. He still likes Zorro.

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