1957 Fremont County Vocational High School graduate publishes third novel
Charlene Bell Dietz recently finished her third fiction novel and credited Fremont County Vocational High School (FCVHS) English teacher Miriam Tweed for her writing accomplishments. “This wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t have the most dynamic, scary [9th grade] English teacher in the world,” Charlene explained.
Charlene’s first two novels, The Flapper, The Scientist, and The Saboteur and The Flapper, The Imposter and The Stalker, have Kirkus star ratings and were also named books of the year by the review company. The recently published third book, The Scientist, The Psychic, and the Nut has been submitted to Kirkus for review as well.
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All three novels have the same characters but are standalone, Charlene shared. The books are inspired by her “crazy aunt Margaret” who ran off at a young age to become a flapper. The stories are fictional because her aunt wouldn’t give her the full details, but things like the dates, where she worked, and other little snippets are real. Even the pictures of the woman on the front cover of her first two books are of her “feisty, chainsmoking” aunt.
Not only did her aunt inspire the novels, but things like a biomedical research science lab she volunteered also inspired her stories. While describing the lab, Charlene said, “What a neat facility for a murder.”
Writing novels wasn’t something Charlene planned. She thought she was going to be an artist. After graduating from FCVHS in 1957, Charlene attended the University of Wyoming and then transferred to the University of New Mexico. She also switched around majors from art to education when she moved.
After several years in education, Charlene retired early and “scribbled off” a book over ten years that later turned into these three separate novels. She sent off her writing to one of those “you think you can write” programs, and it was returned saying it didn’t have a plot. After learning how to plot, she’s now working on her fourth novel due out in the summer.
Everything comes back to Lander and Mrs. Tweed. “She was the best darn English teacher ever.”