While still a boy in New Zealand, author Ron Chudley knew theatre and the arts were in his blood. He's fortunate to have made a living and a life from his passion. At 21, he travelled to England and joined the Academy of Dramatic Arts. While there, he worked for several years in television and theatre, early on producing a trailer for the BBC called The Homemade Car, used as a substitute for the colour panels, which first introduced black-and-white television viewers to the concept of colour TVs. A charming short that ran repeatedly, it attracted a cult following of young film nerds. It was years later, when Ron was living on Vancouver Island that he learned of the following, after they tracked him down.
He has written a number of plays, including After Abraham, based on conversations between two spirits of enemy soldiers in a historical war, wherein they discuss why they fought in the first place.
By 1962, Ron knew his talents were confined in England, so he travelled to New York and found the energy of North America was just what he sought. He went back to England, applied to come to Canada, and took a bit part in an English TV show called Emergency Ward 10 so he could save enough money to emigrate.
"I felt like I was coming home to open arms," he says of his arrival in Toronto in 1964.
Ron's first introduction to Vancouver Island came when he was asked to direct for the Bastion Theatre. Before settling here, Ron wrote for the long-running, wildly popular CBC series The Beachcombers, and penned The Bush and Salon, a CBC historical drama.
In his novel, A Dark Resurrection, the third in a mystery series published by Heritage House/Touchwood Editions, Ron weaves a suspenseful tale about a fortune in diamonds stolen from the ashes of the 9/11 tragedy in New York, which tempts and almost destroys an innocent Vancouver Island family.
It follows Old Bones, a story about a person who finds the bones of a human skeleton with a ring on one of its fingers. Through curiosity, the main character sets on path to return the ring to its original owner. A suspenseful walk, it draws in multiple characters and weaves a tale of intrigue. His next book, Stolen, is in the finishing stages.
Ron is always inspired by multiple ideas and although he has a general understanding of the outcome of each of his stories, sometimes the characters request a different turn of events, so he deviates.
He keeps busy with more notes and ideas for books than he feels he has time to write. Steady and assured in his profession, for Ron, there is nothing else he would like to do or that gives him as much pleasure as writing - except maybe his garden. His mornings are dedicated to gardening, building and doing odd jobs; the afternoons are for writing.
"Just do it, write, every day," he says to would-be writers. "Don't talk about it, do it."
Ron and his second wife, Karen, live in the home they built mostly themselves. They were married in its garden in 2000. Together, they have five children; the oldest was married in that same garden, and the middle one will be married there this summer. Family and tradition are close to Ron's heart.
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