A Hilliard graduate's love of sports – baseball in particular – launched his career as an author, he said.
Glenn Stout, a 1976 Hilliard High School graduate, Jan. 23 shared his journey as an author and editor with journalism students at Hilliard Davidson High School who write and produce the school's newspaper, the Wildcat.
While at Hilliard High School, Stout was a member of the Wildcat staff.
"I want my students to absorb the passion of storytelling, and it's also important for my students to see that someone from Hilliard can make a career out of writing. It's great for (my students) to see that," said Erin Canlas, an English and American literature teacher at Davidson and adviser for the Wildcat.
Canlas is a former Wildcat staff member herself and a 1997 graduate of Davidson.
Stout, 59, lives in Vermont where he is completing his latest book, an illustrated history of the NFL's New England Patriots.
"But I can't finish it," he said, until the outcome of Super Bowl LII is known.
Stout told students he read books about baseball as a teenager but poetry inspired him to become a writer.
A school assignment required Stout to match photographs in magazines to passages of poetry, he said, and his older brother offered him a collection of poems by Langston Hughes.
"It hit me a like a ton of bricks (and) from that moment I wanted to be a writer," said Stout, who thanked his Wildcat adviser, Donnette Calhoon, who helped arrange his visit with "giving me the opportunity to write."
Stout attended college in upstate New York where he earned a few dollars writing papers for other students, an act that he has since made above board and professional as a ghostwriter.
Since 1986, Stout has authored, edited or ghost-written more than 80 books, according to his website, glennstout.net.
His first freelance assignment, for Boston Magazine and concerning the suicide of an early 20th-century manager of the Boston Red Sox, paid $300.
"I haven't been without an assignment since," Stout said.
He worked at the Boston Public Library after graduating from college and, after his first freelance success in 1986, became a full-time author in 1993.
Stout told students about several of his books, including "The Young Woman and the Sea," a biographical account of Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel, and which currently is under option by Paramount Studios to become a feature film.
"I'm watching my email ... but it's out of my hands now," said Stout. "But once they buy (the option, the studio) can do what it wants. They can turn it into a duck swimming across a pond."
The same is sometimes true of the editing and illustration process, though he told students he had some success with controlling his final product.
"The only thing you can control is your effort; everything else is out of your hands," he said.
Stout told students he was blessed to have good mentors, including author David Halberstam, who died in 2007.
In addition to writing and editing, Stout represents would-be authors in soliciting their proposed books for publication.
"The work has to be your reward. You did the groundwork, you produced it, but then it's out of your hands," Stout said about the publishing process.
"But there are techniques to help sell it," such as a good summary and description of its plot, he said.
Stout said he employs a "coffee test" when reading other books.
"If I don't get up to get a second cup," he said, it's a good book.