Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  William Elliott Hazelgrove  

Pen Name: William Hazelgrove

Genre: Literary Fiction Non-Fiction

Audience: Adult; Adult;

Born: 1959 in Richmond, Virginia

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Illinois Connection

Hazelgrove's family moved to Chicago when he was fourteen. After college, he returned to the Chicago area. He currently resides in St. Charles.

Biographical and Professional Information

William Elliott Hazelgrove has a Masters in History and is the best-selling author of ten novels and two works of nonfiction. His books have hit the National Bestseller List, received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist, Book of the Month Selections, Literary Guild Selections, History Book Club Bestsellers, Junior Library Guild Selections, and ALA Editor's Choice Awards. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer-in- Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway's birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for ''USA Today'' and other publications. He has been the subject of interviews in NPR's ''All Things Considered'' along with features in ''The New York Times'', ''LA Times'', ''Chicago Tribune'', ''Chicago Sun Times'', ''RichmondTimes Dispatch'', ''USA Today'', ''People'', NBC, WBEZ, WGN, and American History TV CSPAN. He also runs a political cultural blog, ''The View from Hemingway's Attic''.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

ISBN: 0963005294

Pantonne Press Inc.. 2009

Tells the story of eighteen-year-old Brenton Heatherfield's coming of age during one summer while running a beach stand with his best friend and idol, Christian Streizer

Tobacco Sticks: A Novel
ISBN: 0553762427

Bantam. 1997

In the aftermath of WW II, the Hartwell family struggles to remain whole as a season of change descends upon the South. Old loyalties and familiar ties are abandoned as their sleepy community lashes out with hate when Burke Hartwell, Sr. chooses to defend a black maid who is accused of stealing a priceless heirloom from the man who wants to remain the U.S. Senator from Virginia.

As his world fills with confusing strife, 13-year-old Lee Hartwell struggles to avoid the perils of first love, break the silence between his family and the brother they refuse to understand, and make his way in a time of unrelenting change. Through it all, his father counsels and confides, easing the path of maturity with a strength of conviction that takes a lifetime to learn.

From the Paperback edition.

Mica Highways: A Novel
ISBN: 0553762397

Bantam. 1998

A hypnotic tale of terror and temptation, William Elliott Hazelgrove's Mica Highways is an emotion-packed novel that deftly captures the unique landscape of the American South. With its fierce vision of love, violence, and redemption, this powerfully haunting work recalls the intensity and passion of To Kill a Mockingbird and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

April 4, 1968. To the world, it was the day an assassin's bullet struck down Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. To Charlie Tidewater, it was the day that life as he knew it was over--the day his beautiful mother suddenly died.

Tamara Drake Tidewater was a descendant of one of Virginia's first families, and Charlie was only nine years old when she passed away. The newspaper obituary said she died peacefully, but Charlie knows that the obituary was a lie.

Thirty years later, Charlie remains haunted by the mystery surrounding his mother's untimely death. Newly divorced, he has returned to his childhood home near Richmond, down the glittering mica highways of rural Virginia. He hopes that discovering how his mother really died will finally enable him to lay the ghosts of his troubled past to rest. But the one man who can help Charlie has no intention of unveiling horrors he has spent three decades trying to hide.

To unearth the truth about Tamara's death, Charlie must delve into the darkest corners of the Old South, into its twisted secrets and decadent desires. Shifting seamlessly between Charlie's present-day search for answers and the South's racially charged past, Mica Highways reveals the hidden sins of one small town with a dark history of burning crosses and cold-blooded murder.

A searing fusion of fact and suspense fiction, Mica Highways is as compelling as it is disturbing--a spellbinding and incisive tale from one of today's most gifted storytellers.

From the Hardcover edition.

Rocket Man
ISBN: 1938467582

Koehler Books. 2013

The Catcher in the Rye for the Great Recession, Rocket Man defines a new upside down American Dream. Dale Hammer is the every man who is trying to find himself.
Rocket Man is a very funny and poignant comment on our times, when an upside down middle class is barely hanging onto the American dream. Taking cues from the calamity of The Great Recession, we meet Dale Hammer, a man who is determined to find meaning in a landscape of suburban homogeneity, looking for the moment he had with his own father when they blasted off a rocket on a wintery evening. He feels his son slipping away as he tries to get around "the silent shame of fathers and sons." He becomes the Rocket Man for his sons scout troop and immediately his life implodes. Accused of cutting down the subdivision sign to his neighborhood, he becomes the lone rebel, going down in a flaming arc. When Rocket Day comes, Dale is determined to give his son more than his father gave him.

The Pitcher
ISBN: 1938467590

Koehler Books. 2013

What A Mother Won't Do For Her Son...
Top 50 Bestselling Baseball Books on Amazon Kindle

"I never knew I had an arm until this guy called out, "Hey you want to try and get a ball in the hole, sonny?" I was only nine, but mom said, "come on, let's play." This Carney guy with no teeth and a fuming cigarette hands me five blue rubber balls and says if I throw three in the hole we win a prize. He's grinning, because he took mom's five bucks and figures a sucker is born every minute. That really got me, because we didn't have any money after Fernando took off, and he only comes back to beat up mom and steal our money. So I really wanted to get mom back something, you know, for her five bucks."

A boy with a golden arm but no money for lessons. A mother who wants to give her son his dream before she dies. A broken down World Series pitcher who cannot go on after the death of his wife. These are the elements of The Pitcher. A story of a man at the end of his dream and a boy whose dream is to make his high school baseball team. In the tradition of The Natural and The Field of Dreams, this is a mythic story about how a man and a boy meet in the crossroads of their life and find a way to go on. You will laugh and you will cry as The Pitcher and Ricky prepare for the ultimate try out of life.

Real Santa
ISBN: 194019296X

Koehler Books. 2014

George Kronenfeldt is an unemployed engineer with one shot to keep his daughter's belief in Santa intact. When Megan tells him the only way she will believe in Santa is if she can videotape him and then tells her fourth grade class she will prove the existence of Santa Claus by posting her video to YouTube, George realizes he must become the Real Santa. He devises a plan to land nine reindeer on his roof and go down his chimney, hiring a broken down movie director who eventually has him funding a full scale production that bankrupts him and threatens his marriage. When George goes to find the “Real Santa” to help him, the line between what is real and magic is crossed. Real Santa is a funny heartwarming story of parenthood gone wrong and illuminates what lengths parents will go to keep their children happy. (William Hazelgove)

Jack Pine
ISBN: 163393084X

Koehler Books. 2015

When the sixteen year old daughter of a prominent attorney is raped in a woodshed and a logger found shot the next morning, Deputy Sheriff Reuger London becomes embroiled in a war between environmentalists, the Ojibwa Indians fighting for their timber rights, and the ruthless son of a powerful logger. Ben Johnson is the biggest logger in the Northwoods and his son Cliff will soon take over the business. Logging is dying a slow death from environmental restrictions and all that’s left are the scrub firs and jackpine. But far up in the Boundary Waters of Northern Minnesota are trees called the Old Pines. These three hundred year Norwegian pines are priceless and Johnson Timber wants them. A radical leader of Earth First, Tom Jorde, will do anything to stop the logging in the Boundary Waters. Then another logger is murdered and Jorde is implicated. The town pressures Reuger to stop the environmentalist and arrest an Indian, Tommy Toboken, for the rape of the girl. Tommy had saved his life once before and Reuger knows he is being setup. When he falls in love with the lawyer brought to town to defend Tom Jorde and realizes Johnson Timber is going to log out the Federally protected trees, Reuger is torn between old loyalties and what is right. (William Hazelgrove)

The Pitcher 2: Seventh Inning Stretch
ISBN: 1633930025

Koehler Books. 2015

Ricky is a senior and all seems to be going well when Bailey Hutchinson moves in from Texas and has an almost hundred mile an hour fastball. Fernando comes back and demands money from Ricky when he hears MLB Scouts are interested in him. After a bad pitch hits him in the head he has to go back to throwing rocks with The Pitcher to find himself again.

The Bad Author
ISBN: 1612965687

Black Rose Writing. 2015

A literary-thriller penned in the motif of a Raymond Chandler mystery. This rollercoaster ride of a novel is centered on cop/author Derek Pelican who investigates the murder of a writer in an alley in Chicago. Adding to the murder mayhem, a literary agent turns up dead in Lake Michigan and then a prominent editor is murdered. As it turns out, a disgruntled author is behind the killings and Derek Pelican must work around the clock to stop him before he kills again. The Bad Author takes us on a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants ride from Chicago to New York to find out who is behind the killing of literary agents, writers, and publishers. A smart man's mystery, The Bad Author is the first in a series of more novels to come featuring Derek Pelican.

My Best Year
ISBN: 163393151X

Koehler Books. 2016

“There are two groups of people in the world. Really only two groups. The people who loved high school and the people who hated high school. And everyone knows what group they are in.”
Paul and Julie Clampet want their autistic son Toby to have a great senior year in high school. They want him to catch a winning touchdown, ride in the homecoming parade, and go to the homecoming dance. After being expelled from his high school they find a broken down school in Indianna where they hire the teachers and kids to conspire to give their son his best year ever. Funny, poignant, a comment on the times we live in, My Best Year is up there with Perotta’s Election for diagramming the heartbreak and triumph that is high school. (William Hazelgrove)

Madam President: The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson
ISBN: 162157475X

Regnery History. 2016

After President Woodrow Wilson suffered a paralyzing stroke in the fall of 1919, his wife, First Lady Edith Wilson, began to handle the day-to-day responsibilities of the Executive Office. Mrs. Wilson had had little formal education and had only been married to President Wilson for four years yet, in the tenuous peace following the end of World War I, Mrs. Wilson dedicated herself to managing the office of the President, reading all correspondence intended for her bedridden husband. Though her Oval Office authority was acknowledged in Washington, D.C. circles at the time--one senator called her "the Presidentress who had fulfilled the dream of suffragettes by changing her title from First Lady to Acting First Man"--her legacy as "First Woman President" is now largely forgotten.

William Hazelgrove's Madam President is a vivid, engaging portrait of the woman who became the acting President of the United States in 1919, months before women officially won the right to vote. Movie Rights Optioned by Storyline Entertainment. A Selection of the Literary Guild, History Book Club, Military Book Club, and Conservative Book Club.

Forging a President: How the Wild West Created Teddy Roosevelt
ISBN: 1621574768

Regnery History. 2017

"There are few sensations I prefer to that of galloping over these rolling limitless prairies, with rifle in hand, or winding my way among the barren, fantastic and grimly picturesque deserts of the so-called Bad Lands." —Theodore Roosevelt

He was born a city boy in Manhattan but it wasn't until he lived as a cattle rancher and deputy sheriff in the wild country of the Dakota Territory that Theodore Roosevelt became the man who would be president. "I have always said I would not have been president had it not been for my experience in North Dakota," Roosevelt later wrote. It was in the "grim fairyland" of the Bad Lands that Roosevelt became acquainted with the ways of cowboys, Native Americans, trappers, thieves, and wild creatures--and it was there that his spirit was forged and tested.

In Forging a President, author William Hazelgrove uses Roosevelt's own reflections to immerse readers in the formative seasons that America's twenty-sixth president spent in "the broken country" of the Wild West.

Al Capone and the 1933 World's Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago
ISBN: 1442272260

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. 2017

Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair: The End of the Gangster Era in Chicago is a historical look at Chicago during the darkest days of the Great Depression. The story of Chicago fighting the hold that organized crime had on the city to be able to put on The 1933 World's Fair.

William Hazelgrove provides the exciting and sprawling history behind the 1933 World's Fair, the last of the golden age. He reveals the story of the six millionaire businessmen, dubbed The Secret Six, who beat Al Capone at his own game, ending the gangster era as prohibition was repealed. The story of an intriguing woman, Sally Rand, who embodied the World's Fair with her own rags to riches story and brought sex into the open. The story of Rufus and Charles Dawes who gave the fair a theme and then found financing in the worst economic times the country had ever experienced. The story of the most corrupt mayor of Chicago, William Thompson, who owed his election to Al Capone and the mayor who followed him, Anton Cermak, who was murdered months before the fair opened by an assassin many said was hired by Al Capone.

But most of all it’s the story about a city fighting for survival in the darkest of times and a shining light of hope called A Century of Progress.


Forging A President

  • History Book Club Selection
  • Madame President

  • Literary Guild Selection
  • History Book Club Selection
  • Editors Pick, Foreword Reviews
  • Real Santa

  • Starred Review, Booklist
  • Starred Review, Booklist
  • The Pitcher

  • Selection for Fall, Junior Library Guild
  • Bestseller List for Hispanic Fiction, Amazon
  • Bestseller List for Baseball, Amazon
  • Tobacco Sticks

  • Starred Review, Publishers Weekly
  • Book of the Month Club Selection
  • Ripples

  • Editors Choice Award, ALA Booklist

    Speaking Engagements

    Speaking Engagement Availability (Yes)

    Library Program Information



    Savvy Literary Contact Leticia Gomez at