Steve Ritchie is a story teller; just ask anyone who has sat around a campfire with him. He was born on August 18, 1950 in New Albany, Indiana and grew up in Kentucky, raised the son of a Baptist Minister. He played baseball and football for the schools which he attended and stalked the woods and streams of Central and Eastern Kentucky, hunting and fishing, all the while gaining knowledge of wild country.
He spent each summer on his maternal grandparents’ Southern Indiana farm where, when not helping his grandfather in the fields, he and his cousins roamed the timber covered hills north of the Ohio River. He hunted and fished whenever he had a spare minute.
After completing high school, he entered college, where he worked as sports statistician, and wrote related articles for the school and local papers. There, his English professor was Dr. Woodridge Spears, the renowned poet and author of such works as “The Feudalist”. Steve left school after only one semester and entered the work force, but saw Dr. Spears a few months later. During their conversation, he told Steve, “….I see something in your writing,” and suggested he consider studying journalism…..he never forgot the words of his former professor.
In 1980, with a wife and two young children, Steve moved his family to Casper, Wyoming, finding work in the oilfields. While living in Casper, the family traveled throughout Wyoming, visiting such places as Yellowstone National Park, Grand Teton, Devil’s Tower National Monument and areas along the Oregon Trail, such as Independence Rock and Devil’s Gate. They also visited Deadwood and Mount Rushmore National Memorial, both located in the beautiful Black Hills near Rapid City, South Dakota.
Being an avid hunter and fisherman, he again could be found roaming the pine and aspen covered hills and mountains with fabled names like The Big Horns, The Sweetwater Range and The Pedros; fishing the rivers and streams called The North Platte River, The Sweetwater River and The Middle Fork of the Powder River, as well as many others. Little did he know he was walking upon much of the country of which he would eventually write.
Having grown up in the South of the 1960s, Steve saw the effects of segregation and the prejudice toward Black Americans; he and his young Black friends weren’t even allowed to drink at the same water fountain. Being of Native American decent (Cherokee Indian), after moving to the West, he saw and felt those same prejudices toward the Native People of the West. Having learned those “real life” lessons, his stories, some of which include characters of the Plains Tribes, take a much different slant in their regard and reflect those lessons learned
In 1999, after having returned to college on a part-time basis, taking as many writing classes as possible, Steve moved to Florida. With the ghost of the conversation with his former professor having haunted his thoughts for nearly 40 years, in 2007, at the age of 57, he finally began writing. His first work to be accepted was In the Shadow of the Tower, a short story, which was posted on the Black Horse Western Magazine website in January, 2009. His first published novel, The Black Mountain Dutchman, was released October 30, 2010, by Robert Hale Publishing, London.