This blog is my attempt at being a little more transparent as an author. I hope to provide anyone who is interested with a "behind the scenes" kind of glimpse into my own life story and how my experiences shape the stories that I write. And if no one at all is interested then at least I'll have a record of thoughts, experiences, and events for my offspring - not that they'll be any more interested!
I've always loved stories. My dad was a great storyteller from behind a pulpit, and growing up listening to him bring the Bible to life for our church congregation, no doubt planted storytelling seeds in me. My father's death from cancer when I was only 7 years old would disrupt the full blooming of those seeds - at least for some time.
My mom read stories to my younger sister and me every night. I remember "Island Of The Blue Dolphins" and "The Chronicles Of Narnia" being some of my favorites and ones that really captured my imagination. "Where The Red Fern Grows", which was one of the first long chapter books I read by myself, was also the first book that brought me to tears. I remember being a little embarrassed about that, but more amazed that words on paper could move my heart in such a stirring way.
Sometime around the age of 12-13, I picked up a Louis L'amour book that my older brother had in his room and after reading the whole thing in just about one sitting, I was hooked. Over the next few years, I would read and collect about 80 of his small paperback novels. These stories provided just the manly/heroic guidance and inspiration I was missing and desperately needed in my father's absence. When I was 14, my mother remarried, and I found myself under the authority of a real-life Louis L'amour protagonist.
My veteran stepfather was a man of conviction, honor, and righteous indignation. His 6' 4" strong figure was imposing! He encouraged me to write and during high school, I would often stop by his office across the street from our campus and work on my stories on one of his computers.
I say STORIES because there were many to choose from!
But now I'm getting ahead of myself so let me back up a bit.
I think I first started writing stories when I was around 10 years old. I vividly remember my first attempts at writing because I usually spent more time thinking about titles and cover images than the actual plots. Well, that's not entirely true. I did go at these stories with a lot of gusto in the beginning and I would stick with them for a few chapters, but then a new idea for another story would pop into my head and I'd start chasing that plot and all the ideas that came with it. But these were books I was working on, not short stories or one-page summaries. I wanted to be a novel writer and so my stories were long - way longer than most kids my age would read, let alone write! The stories were so long and I invested in them so much that I can still remember the plots (and the cover images) to this day.
Let me prove it. I basically started and worked on 6 main novels from 10-18 years old that I still remember vividly to this day. Here are the titles (I won't be sharing too many details just in case I decide to resurrect any of these one day!):
1. Wingspread: Narnia like allegory with animal characters
2. The Graduate: US vs Russia spy story (Two best friends who grow up and graduate from college together)
3. The Hunter & The Hunted: Classic Western. Ode Louis L'amour
4. Badlands: ATV riders vs satan worshippers thriller
5. Four Corners (No title): Fantasy western that takes place where Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah meet
6. Abduction Story (No title): This one was rife with action, thrills, suspense, and a little too racy for my lustful mind to handle. I had to stop writing it for my own good.
I wrote over 50 pages on each of these by hand (chicken scratch print that no one - even myself - could read). A few were over 100 pages when I walked away to start something new!
I never had a problem coming up with a new story idea or getting the plot going. My problem was staying the course and finishing what I had started. By the time I got to college, I had kind of abandoned writing stories for playing guitar and writing lyrics. Thankfully, during my senior year of university, God dropped a story idea into my mind (heart, soul, take your pick) that I would not be able to dismiss. This story would take 10 years to write, another 10 years to edit, and would be self-published twice and STILL have room for improvement - but writing and finishing my first novel "Let The Children Come" would help finally get me over that hump of starting but never finishing a story. It was a boost of confidence - whether or not anyone ever bought or read it - and it also helped me prove to myself that the journey of writing a story can be just as worthwhile as the destination of finishing and publishing it.