Classified Information

By Richard Mineards   |   October 25, 2018
Author David Wilk loves Journal classifieds

Nearly a decade ago, writer David Wilk placed a classified ad in the Montecito Journal offering to use his talents to write biographies of local residents.

Now, 10 books later, he is celebrating his 10th anniversary of a successful new career.

“Advertising with the Journal has certainly been productive for me,” says David. “Back then, I needed to figure out how to make a living and stay close to my home as my wife, Terryle, suffered from a series of profound illnesses, including many hospitalizations and surgeries, that I could not deal with being on the road in my marketing job.

“I had written two novels earlier in my career and loved doing it, but they did not make much money. I just couldn’t write another spec novel in the hopes that in a year or two it would bring the success we needed.”

Then David had the idea to write a pre-paid book and figured helping someone tell their life story would suit the bill.

“I had been a reporter early in my career, and knew I had some talent as an interviewer. I ran ads in several newspapers and voilà, my ad in the Journal resulted in a quick response from a lovely lady, Mary Foto, who wanted to commission a book about her late father, who came from a tiny town in Iowa.”

David visited the state twice, interviewing dozens of people, and wrote Castana, named after the town.

Another Journal ad brought him in contact with Toni Haselton, who commissioned a book about her parents, Ray and Phyllis Contino, who were alive and lived in an impressive manse in Laguna Beach.

“Toni and her family were very pleased with the book, The Continos. She and I hit on the idea of including brief autobiographies of all the close family members at the end of the book, and it is a concept I use again and again in my biographical books.”

The projects then flew thick and fast with books of Montecito residents Doris Kuhns and Dana Kent, Time Was and Brussels to Beirut to Bali, with another tome on nonagenarian Fred Perutz, a Jewish teenager in Austria when Hitler invaded who eventually worked for U.S. military intelligence, titled Anschluss to America.

This year, David assisted former cosmetic surgeon Richard Caleel, a past president of the American Polo Association, residing at Birnam Wood with his opera-loving wife, Annette, with his book First Generation.

David, who lived in our rarefied enclave for many years, but now resides in the Ojai Valley, can be contacted on (805) 455-5980 or by email:


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