In the last year, I’ve taken an active, more formal approach to my writing by publishing an indie book on Kindle and CreateSpace, which led to submitting short stories here on bookscover2cover. However, looking back, the writer has always lived inside of me, that compulsion other authors will recognize to create stories on a blank sheet of paper. My earliest writing memory goes back to grade school. I was around eight years old. I had written a story about a rabbit in the woods that appeared in different colors. His friends tried to solve the mystery and discovered he bathed in paint. (Like I said, I was only eight!) What I recall is showing the story to my aunt, and she got the biggest kick out of reading it out loud.
The desire to write stayed with me. English and writing courses were my favorites in school. As an adult, I took writing classes and even met regularly with a group of budding writers working on his or her first novel. Meeting with these writers proved to be a valuable learning experience, but I never got past the first draft of my first novel.
Even when life got in the way of my diligently putting pen to paper (or keyboard to Word document), I’ve processed my thoughts as a writer: “That would make a great short story.” “She would make a great character.” “A writer couldn’t make him up.” I’ve always been a keen listener, noticing words and expressions unique in various people’s vernacular. Often I’ve come across people—the shoe shine man in a building I worked in, a seamstress that raised five children on her own, a charming business owner with serious dysfunction in his personal life—and filled in the blanks and read between the lines of their story.
Some of these people and ideas have found their way into my writing today. I get my inspiration from them. I like exploring the story and drama in seemingly ordinary people and mining that. The darker side of people also intrigues me, along with the secrets and facades that go with it.
Of course, I could not have developed a love for writing without being a book lover. My love for reading began in childhood. As a child, I loved Dr. Seuss, Curious George, Winnie the Pooh, and those Little Golden Books. As I grew older, I enjoyed the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew mysteries. Summers included frequent trips to the library. I believe three summers in a row I checked out “Little Burma” by Robert McClung. As I moved into high school literature classes, I developed a fondness for classics such as “Jane Eyre,” “Wuthering Heights,” “A Farewell to Arms,” and “The Great Gatsby.”
Since navigating into the indie author world, most of my reading time is dedicated to reading books by fellow indie authors. Before that, my favorite authors included Dennis Lehane, Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine, and Tanya French.
I’m not sure where my writing will take me, literally or figuratively. I just know that I don’t feel complete if I’m not working on a writing project. Now that I’ve put myself out there by self-publishing, a certain level of angst and uncertainty go with it: The marketing efforts, the pressure to get another book out there, the hope that people like my work. However, there’s also something that overshadows the anxiety and pressure, and that is the tranquility that I feel when I am creating something new. Writing brings a calm fulfillment that only comes when creating stories on that blank sheet of paper.