Sunday, February 11, 2024

Unearthing author Joseph Trainor

While researching possible pseudonyms that Canadian author Robin Hardy (1952-1995) had used, "Joseph Trainor" stood out as a potential match, primarily because there's little to no information about him. 

For those who were preteens in the early 1980s, the name may seem familiar: he was attributed as the author of two books in the popular series Twilight: Where Darkness Begins, published by Cloverdale Press--which is where Hardy got his start after moving to New York City, becoming the executive editor from 1987-1991.

The Trainor books were published while Hardy was still living in Canada, although at the time he had written a number of novels that were published in the United States under different pen names. So, I wasn't ready to rule it out. These Twilight books are incredibly popular and incredibly rare--and fetch an incredible price on the used market. The two novels in question:

Watery Grave (1983) - Book #18
Why can't anyone see what is happening? Julie knows she is not hallucinating, but no one believes the things she has seen. First the pages of her Spanish book appear completely blank-except for one word; LAVINA. Then she watches in horror as the letters flow together and drip down the page, staining her skirt with blood. Lost in a thick fog on her way home, she encounters a strange man in seaman's clothes who calls out to here: LAVINA. Who is Lavina? Is Julie part of an ancient nightmare? Is there no escape?

Family Crypt (1984) - Book #20
Life turned sour for Janet Marie Simpson the day she agreed to cut school and join the gang on Senor Bunk Day. What could be nicer than a cruise across Lake Champlain on a beautiful summer day? How could they have known that the motor would conk out, that they would have to spend the night on a tiny, nameless island in the middle of the lake? For Janet, her parents' punishment-indefinite grounding-is only the beginning. The dreams and the blackouts are far worse. Blackouts that leave her weak and exhausted. Dreams that always end up in a graveyard. Then Janet begins to understand that an old evil is trying to escape from the place where it has been imprisoned for so many years. Is Janet a victim, or is she the vehicle of doom?

I then discovered that a Joseph Trainor wrote “No Man Escapes His Fate” in the pulp digest magazine FATE (Vol. 35, No. 10, Issue 386), in October 1982. Even better! 

However, my research then uncovered a press photo from 1987 (listed on eBay) that shows "romance author" Joseph Trainor in attendance at the Romance Writers Convention at Framingham State College in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Joseph Trainor in attendance at the Romance Writers Convention at Framingham State College in Framingham, Massachusetts (1987)

He's pictured holding a copy of Sweet Valley High Super Editions #6 - Spring Fever (1987). This book is attributed to the house name ‘Kate William’, which makes me wonder if he, in fact, was the author. Assuming that all of these men are the same person, then this rules out Joseph Trainor as a potential Hardy pseudonym. 

Hard to believe this was almost 40 years ago! Joseph Trainor, are you still out there? What else did you write? Inquiring minds want to know..!


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