Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Beverly Van Hook  

Pen Name: None

Genre:

Born: February 2, 1941 in Huntington, West Virgina

Sites:


Illinois Connection

*Lived in Rock Island County for all but four years between 1963-1993

Biographical and Professional Information

Beverly Van Hook was an award-winning journalist and best-selling author who had lived in the Quad-Cities of Illinois. Beverly grew up in West Virginia and attended Ohio University, graduating cum laude in 1962 with a degree in journalism. In early 1964, Beverly moved to Burlington, VT with her husband. There, Beverly was a city reporter for the Burlington Free Press.They then moved to Moline, IL for her husband's job. Beverly quickly became editor of a monthly publication for Augustana College in nearby Rock Island, Illinois. While her children were young, Beverly worked as a successful freelance writer,publishing articles in national publications including ''Reader’s Digest'' and ''Family Circle''. Her husband's company transferred the family to Germany for nearly four years in the mid-70’s and she continued freelancing, publishing a very successful series on what it was like foran American family to experience German culture and send their children to German schools. Once back in the Quad Cities, she wrote award-winning feature articles for the ''Quad-City Times'' newspaper, co-hosted her own radio talk show, and had a special television segment on the local ABC-affiliate evening news reviewing books.All in all, Beverly spent twenty-two years working before resigning to focus on a fiction-writing career. Her first book was a children's mystery story, ''The Mystery of the Shrunken Heads'', which introduced the character Supergranny, a "gray-haired detective who drives a red Ferrari and fights crime." Unable to get a publisher for the book, Van Hook and several friends decided to publish the book themselves. Supergranny and her sidekicks Shackleford the English sheepdog and Chesterton the gum-drop powered mini-robot proved to be very popular. The first printing of the novel sold out in ten months. The second Supergranny case, ''The Case of the Riverboat Riverbelle'', received Van Hook's first national review in School Library Journal. In 1993, Beverly and her husband moved to Charlottesville, VA to be closer to family.In 1995, Van Hook published her first novel for adults, ''Fiction, Fact, and Murder''. The novel introduces amateur sleuth Liza Randolph, author of Supergramps, a children's mystery series, and her husband Dutch. The novel is set in a town based loosely on Buckhannon, WV, and features a college very similar to West Virginia Wesleyan College.The success of the Supergranny books led to high demand for Beverly as a speaker at schools and libraries. Over a 15-year period, she spoke to more than a half million children between the ages of 8 to 12. The books are still used in schools across the Midwest, and the series has been optioned three times by Hollywood production companies for the movies.


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