Retired newsman, Carson resident publishes novel

Robert Drews in the Nevada Appeal office with his new book May 9.

Robert Drews in the Nevada Appeal office with his new book May 9.
Photo by Scott Neuffer.

A veteran newspaperman turned Carson City resident can now add novelist to his list of life accomplishments.

In February, Vertu Publishing published Robert Drews’ novel, “Look for Something Good.” The book is the result of six years of devotion to the craft of writing.

“I started in January of 2017, and it was published in February of 2023,” Drews, now 73, told the Appeal.

Drews said some chapters wrote themselves, while others not so much.

“I didn’t write the book to get rich,” he said. “I didn’t write the book to get famous. I wrote the book because I wanted to write a book. I wanted to write a book that people would enjoy reading.”

Drews grew up in Wisconsin before heading West. He earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University.

“I worked on my high school newspaper, and it was funny when I was doing it, I said, ‘Man, the people that do this and get paid for it?’ So, I knew I wanted to go to journalism school.”

Drews found his calling as a copy editor, working for the Wall Street Journal and other outlets before settling in San Jose. In California, he would work for the Mercury News for more than 30 years. He talked fondly of his time at the newspaper, though he remained in an editor role and didn’t write stories himself.

“I like the idea of being in a newsroom where you’re dealing with a whole bunch of stories instead of one,” he said.

After retirement, with three grown children and several grandchildren, Drews and his wife Lisa looked to western Nevada, an area they’d visited, for relocation. Since moving to Carson City, the couple has come to enjoy the hiking and fishing in the area, and Drews has become a writing tutor at Western Nevada College.

“Every day when we drive from Carson to Reno, my wife says to me, ‘I love it here,’” he said. “She’s happy. I’m happy. We’re happy campers here.”

Drews hasn’t always been a creative writer. After years editing others’ copy, he found himself enjoying it. More than 300 pages, his novel follows two men in their 60s — recently laid-off J.J. Werth and Marine-turned-priest Father Thomas Kearns — as they grapple with questions of life and faith.

“A penitent left the confessional and knelt in contemplation, crossed herself with holy water, and disappeared into the twilight,” reads the first line.

The book explores religious themes. Although Drews describes himself as a devout Christian, he said he is nonjudgmental about other faiths. Some of his best friends are Muslim, he said. There is a scene later in the book where Father Thomas meets and bonds with a Muslim family.

“Somebody once said God and religion are many rivers flowing into the same ocean,” Drews said. “It’s very true.”

As expected from a former editor, the prose of the novel is lean and efficient, but not without some poetic flourish. Drews said it was challenging overcoming the brevity he was used to as an editor.

“Being a journalist, you tend to be very brief in stuff,” he said. “You tend to get to the point.”

Writing the book and working on edits provided opportunities for more depth. Drews noted the fluid nature of fiction and fictional characters.

“That’s the beauty of fiction,” he said. “You just make these people up.”

When asked if he had another book in him, Drews said, “Most definitely.”

“Look for Something Good” can be found online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Bookshop.


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