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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

An Inspired Career

Veronica Campbell Stich '03

Despite launching a career in information security after graduating from UTSA with a bachelor of business administration degree, Veronica Campbell Stich says she had a creative spark that needed an outlet. Luckily, the roots for such an outlet had been firmly planted for years. "It was in high school that I found my style in literature," she says. "I gravitated toward the stories of Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King. When I read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, I was fascinated; it was the mix of horror and science fiction. Plus, it was written by a woman."

And that style of Stich's she mentions? It's been described as "the paranormal," "cult fiction" and "dark science fiction."

Now, with five novels published in the past nine years under the name Ronnie Stich, the author has broken new ground. She's written a screenplay on Father Martin Bonaparte, a character from her Secret Afterlife Series (The Assassination Race and sequel Curse of the Sacred Wolf), which focuses on the complicated relationship between a priest and his government-connected father. Being produced by Maldito Films, Bonaparte is the result of Stich's screenplay and delves further into the background of the characters introduced in the series.

Having accumulated no fewer than nine national and international awards for her books, one might think Stich's comfort with her writing came easily. But as with any good story, the plot isn't that simple. "I finished a book and then realized that writing was who I am," she explains. "As a career, though? I had my doubts for a while, but when I got back the professional reviews on The Assassination Race — and they were good — I was pretty motivated to turn writing into a career. Now, I couldn't imagine going back."

But what about that "dark" genre? "My father was a big fan of science fiction. That was a big influence on me as a kid," she says. "And I've always had an interest in things paranormal. People who have been close to me know that I have had some interesting experiences — ghostly encounters, I guess. I think writing about it in a fictitious sense is just a way for me to express my belief in ghosts, otherworldly energies. I wanted to make people think beyond the material world."

Like her father's influence, Stich's other inspiration dates back to a time that predates her information security career. "I was drawn to UTSA because of its reputation as a whole," she says. But her "favorite classes were philosophy and ancient history because they helped me to think outside the box. I loved every minute there. I found the diverse atmosphere very inviting, and I remember lots of smiling faces and other students willing to help each other out when needed. I am very proud of it."

–Michael Elkins Edwards


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