Tuesday, June 15, 2021

About William Hammett

I've been a ghostwriter and editor for twenty-four years, and the link to my professional website may be found in the sidebar. I have also written novels, poetry, and short fiction under my own name. I received Masters degrees in English and Education from the University of New Orleans and taught writing and literature at the University of New Orleans, St. Mary's Dominican College, Delgado Community College, and Archbishop Chapelle High School.

I have published short fiction and poetry in numerous literary journals around the country, including American Poets & Poetry, Poem, The Rockford Review, Pegasus, Twilight Ending, Parnassus Literary Journal, Black Buzzard Review, Lynx, Rose and Thorn, Poetry, The Lyric, Tight, Mojo Risin', Ship of Fools, and dozens of others. (See Copyright and Publishing Information in the navigation bar for a complete listing.) I edited the Gold Newsletter (now Blanchard and Co.,) and wrote color pieces for weekly New Orleans newspapers such as Figaro. In the 1990s, while still teaching, I owned a manuscript review service called Inklings Ltd., a foreshadowing of my ghostwriting days.

I wrote the novel John Lennon and the Mercy Street Cafe, which was read by former members of the Beatles' inner circle and a couple of guys who had gone to the Liverpool College of Art with Lennon. The novel was taught in courses on magical realism at a couple of universities around the United States. One of my more recent collaborations as a ghostwriter is the novel American Coup, written with U.S. Congressman Emmanuel Cleaver, former head of the Congressional Black Caucus. The mass market paperback edition was released on June 29, 2021. Written in 2017, it predicted much of the political drama and upheaval of 2020 and 2021.

I've ghostwritten for Hollywood celebrities both in front and behind the camera (e.g., Everyone Loves Raymond, The Simpsons, Saturday Night Live, Castle, Rizzoli & Isles, Law and Order, and The Wolf of Wall Street). I've also written books for U.S. senators, congressmen, White House staffers, CEOs, professional athletes, and published authors of fiction and nonfiction.

I am a huge fan of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., as well as other modern novelists such as Saul Bellow, Walker Percy, William Styron, Garrison Keillor, and Tom Robbins.

Now it's name-dropping time. I am the cousin of legendary mystery novelist Dashiell Hammett. Our common ancestor is Mckelvie Hammett. Mckelvie had several children. One of his sons gave birth to my father's line, and another gave birth to Dashiell's. Both lines originated in Maryland. (I began reading detective fiction as a child and was encouraged by Perry Mason author Erle Stanley Gardner to pursue writing when I was older, so it's strange the way things fit together in our lives. Carl Jung had it right--synchronicity--but that's another story.)

An interesting aside about Hammett genealogy: Several hundred years ago in England, the name "Hammett" was spelled many different ways, spelling being rather arbitrary from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It was sometimes rendered as Hammette, Hamette, Hammet, Hammete, Hamette, Hamet, and Hamnet. Hamnet eventually became popular as a Christian name rather than a surname in England, and when Shakespeare had twins, he named them Hamnet and Judith. Some scholars believe that when ole Will sat down to pen his most famous tragedy, he changed Hamnet's name slightly, substituting an L for the N, thus producing the name Hamlet as a tribute to his son, who died at age eleven in 1596. This theory is not universally accepted. That having been said, Shakespeare took most of the material for his plays from Holinshed's Chronicles, but the origin of Hamlet is not so easily traced and is the source of scholarly debate.

I advocate for mental health, the elderly, environmental responsibility, political accountability, and the fight against world hunger. I have also written extensively about (and for) people who have survived abusive and dysfunctional relationships. My brother is a Benedictine priest who has, for fifty years, created ministries for the needy and marginalized in southeastern Louisiana as well as in Mexico.

My son (and the joy of my life) is Patrick Hammett, who majored in classical guitar at SLU. He then received a Masters degree and state licensing and certification in marriage and family therapy (M.Ed, LPC) and is currently clinical director at Longbranch Wellness in Abita, Louisiana, and Covington, Louisiana, where his focus is on drug rehab and suicide prevention. Like me, he is a musician and plays classical, folk, rock, blues, and jazz.

I love my hometown, and I'm especially proud of the contribution that my family has made to the culture of New Orleans. My uncle, Louis Nicholas Hammett, was chief architect for the Louisiana State Capital in Baton Rouge, Charity Hospital of New Orleans, and New Orleans Lakefront Airport. My Uncle Harry (Henry Hammett) and my father started the law firm of Hammett, Leake, and Hammett.

My grandparents, Joseph and Bernadine Hammett, made significant contributions to the funding for construction of Loyola University and Holy Name of Jesus Church on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. Their names may be seen on two stain glass windows in the church. Joseph owned a grocery store and lumber yard on St. Andrew Street, and his wife Bernadine was a principal shareholder in Faubacher Brewery.

I recently signed on to help promote the song and website Revolution 1X1 (Revolution 1X1), a song by musician and singer Noel Paul Stookey (the "Paul" of Peter, Paul and Mary). The song seeks to create a world with tolerance, kindness, and friendliness achieved one person at a time. The track is featured on Stookey's album/CD (Just Causes), a compilation of fifteen songs from Stookey's solo catalog. Each song, based on its theme, is linked to a different nonprofit charity associated with Stookey's political and social activism over the years.

I live near the waters of Lake Pontchartrain with my cat Munkastrap. Life is quiet but good. MY goal is to live to 105.

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