If my Mother were alive today, she would say with great angst, “why would you want to be a writer,” while wringing her hands. Good question Mom.
People kept telling me, “you should write a book.” I had read a lot of books on my prison bunk and had a captive audience for some of my stories. Plus, I had written some letters, so naturally, that would all translate into authordom.
So I dove in, bumped my head and started writing a book.
I’m pretty sure anyone who knew me back then might be surprised I even know how to write, especially any English teacher who had ever tried to scrape me off of the parking lot and get me to class. Crazy as it may seem, I banged away at the keyboard until I had a manuscript.
Eventually, I took all these things I had typed and got professional help. Then I got up off the couch in search of an editor, thinking, maybe, this is a book.
I sent it to some who I believed knew what a book was and how to make one. They kept telling me, “You’ve written some good words here, now if you could just put them in a different order you’d really be onto something.”
They’d take my cash and rewrite my stories until I didn’t recognize them.
“Is this a children’s book,” I’d think after reading their “edits.”
I would pay them to go away and it was back to the drawing board trying to remember what I had written.
I packed up my pile of loose papers and with great trepidation, headed off to the 2015 San Francisco Writers Conference. During a workshop, lacking impulse control, I popped up like a Jack in the Box and pitched my book to the presenter. That’s when I met Scot Bolsinger, who thought it funny and gave me his card. A conversation ensued and he became my editor. It proved a good choice and the party started.
We worked and worked and wrote and rewrote, until one day I decided, “this looks like a book to me.” So I published and ordered myself a copy of my very own book. Sure enough, there it was, it had my name on it. I guess I had written a book.
But still I’d often deny that I was a real “author” or anything highfalutin like that. I just had happened to write a book.
But then something unexplainable happened. People read this so called book and claimed to have liked it. Reviews on Amazon poured in. Not only had I written a book, but people were reading the damn thing too.
Ever since, I’ve been busy feeding the beast, going to places like bookstores, book fairs and such, offering my book to people. Somewhere along the line, thanks to all of you wonderful readers I have come to grips with the fact I’ve done more than write a book. I’ve learned how to write and I’m an author I guess, sort of. It still feels weird rolling off my tongue, but there it is.
As if all the punishment of the first book wasn’t enough, I’ll be damned if I’m not writing another. I’ve got characters that live inside my head trying to make their escape. I’m going to grant them all clemency. I hear those voices constantly, but really, it’s just my voice saying to me: “You should write another book.”