Growing up in Zanesville, Ohio, a city founded by his maternal grandfather, Zane Grey, enjoyed baseball, fishing, American history, and reading adventure stories like Robinson Caruso and dime novels featuring Buffalo Bill. Zane wrote his first story when he was fifteen, but his father, a dentist, did not approve of Zane writing anything at all and tore the manuscript to bits.
After an embarrassing financial setback, the elder Grey moved the family to Columbus, where Zane and his brother helped rebuild their father’s dental practice. Before, after, and between work, fishing and baseball, Zane wrote every day, effectively bringing the rugged wild west to vivid life on paper.
After four consecutive rejections, Harper & Brothers finally published Heritage of the Desert in 1910, and two years later, the publication of Zane’s all-time best seller Riders of the Purple Sage put his books in the hands of readers everywhere. Harper accepted everything Zane submitted after that and continued releasing from a stockpile one story each year for more than twenty years after his death.
It’s estimated that Zane, one of the first authors to become a millionaire, wrote more than nine million words in his career. In all, he wrote more than ninety books, not only westerns but hunting and fishing guides and children’s stories as well. There were over a hundred story-based films produced, many of which were shot at locations described in Zane’s books.
I can’t tell you exactly how many fictional characters are named “Zero” because I lost count at 30. Let’s see, there was one in “Holes,” a ghost dog in “Nightmare Before Christmas,” an assassin in “John Wick” as well as a thief in “Grand Theft Auto.” Can you think of any others?
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” ~ Zig Ziglar