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Monte Schulz out with new book

  • 10/18/2009:D1: Monte Schulz says he spent ``10 years in this office'' writing ``This Side of Jordan'' at his Nevada City home. The book, part one of a planned trilogy of Jazz Age novels, was written for his late father and Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz.

    PC: Monte Schultz spent "Ten years in this office " referring to time spent writing 'This Side of Jordan' at his Nevada City home. The book, part one of a planned trilogy of a Jazz Age novel was written for his late father and Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2009

Charles Monroe Schulz Jr., son of the world's most famous cartoonist, is coming home next week to Sonoma County, where he grew up.

Monte Schulz, as everyone knows him, is 60 now and an author in his own right. He'll visit Santa Rosa next week during his promotional tour for his newest novel, "The Big Town."

When he came to town two years ago to talk about his earlier novel, "This Side of Jordan," Schulz drew an audience of 100, the biggest book-signing crowd he's had so far. Those two books, and last year's "Last Rose of Summer," are part of a trio of loosely related novels scheduled to be republished as a single, 1,100-page volume titled "Crossing Eden" in 2014.

So far, the books have sold "a few thousand" copies, and drawn mixed reviews, Schulz said.

"To be honest with you, I've been a little disappointed," he said by phone from his home in Santa Barbara. "I realize, now that people are reading these books, that a lot of it goes right over their heads."

Set in the summer of 1929, the books endeavor to capture the feel of America in the Jazz Age.

"It's the time of my dad's youth," Schulz said. "Dad was 7 years old that year."

Charles M. Schulz Sr., the creator of the phenomenally successful and still popular "Peanuts" comic strip, was the son of a barber in St. Paul, Minn. The cartoonist settled in Sonoma County in 1957, and lived and worked here until his death in 2000.

Monte Schulz said he enjoyed freedom from any economic pressure, thanks to his father's worldwide commercial success.

"Let's say I don't need the money. I wanted to write my great American novel. I have been given this great gift to write the books I wanted to write," Schulz said.


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