“Hey, there’s an App for that!” Ever heard this in response to some idea you were sure was entirely unique and so obscure that no one else had ever conceived it? In fact, you thought you were completely weird for coming up with it. Except, that meant there was some other weirdo out there, because he came up with it, too. And there must have been a lot of weirdos out there, because there seemed to be an audience for this App.
If an App can find its own weird audience, might an author?
Here’s my story:
When I think about my journey to becoming a published author I always feel a tad overwhelmed with astonishment. Sometimes I'm not even sure if it's something I chose or stumbled into. I'm not complaining though, because now that I'm here I can't imagine it any other way.
So here's why my story is a little strange. First of all, I never intended to become a writer. My journey began with an obsession over making sense of a dream I had over the Thanksgiving holidays in 2002. I woke up feeling like I had experienced pieces of someone else' life, and for the next six months I pondered continuously over how it all fit together. Eventually it became too big to keep straight in my head, so I began to write in secret -- because, really... who tries to work out a story from a dream merely because it fascinates them? As I wrote though something transformed within me. I fell in love with these characters in my head, I fell in love with their plight to be together, and I felt this strange sense of honor at being the one to convey their story through the written word. I fell in love with the ability to create.
I toyed for several years more, putting the book away, pulling it out, considering the idea of trying to get published and then convincing myself that I'd written the story solely for my own satisfaction.
Around 2007 I began to feel a gentle nudge in the direction of publication. That's when I faced a couple of new challenges. I knew nothing about the industry, and even less about the genres of the book I had written. You see, I read a fair amount. Tom Clancy and Tess Gerritson were and still are two of my favorite authors, but neither of them write romance. So here I was, a non-romance reader who had written a romance. To add to that conundrum, my romance had strong elements of faith in it. It was Christian fiction romance. Guess what? Not only did I not read romance, I didn't read Christian fiction, and certainly had never so much as picked up a Christian fiction romance. Was there even such a thing?
So that's when I began to study. To my horror, one of the first things I learned was that a.) authors are supposed to read what they write, and b.) the kind of things I wanted to include in my book/s were the sort of things that most publishers of Christian fiction ask authors to edit out. The author of one book I read about getting published in the Christian fiction market flat out stated that if you were a new author, and your book contained a,b or c (you know, the "big sins") then you should put it away and write something else. If you were lucky and made it big, then maybe one day you could publish the story you really wanted to tell.
At that point, I remember closing that book and thinking the advice seemed a tad disingenuous. Wouldn't readers feel duped if they'd come to expect one thing from a beloved author only to find out that was never who the author really was. Wouldn't that be a little like learning Tom Clancy really was a communist, and the true reason for getting his character Jack Ryan into the White House was so he could make points on what he saw as benefits of that system. I had to ask myself: Did I want to write for the purpose of being published, or did I want to write for the purpose of telling a story from my heart? For me, it was never really a question.
So here I am, an unintentional writer of Christian fiction/romance for readers who don't read either. And something rather amazing has come of it. I've discovered that there's actually an audience for that.
In closing, here's a picture of my dog.
"Tweet me if you think I'm cute."