On Writing: What inspired you to be an author?

Inspiration is a hard thing to pinpoint. Reading through blog posts and interviews from other authors, it seems like most of us have always known we wanted to be writers or some poignant moment in our past drew us to the written word. I remember wanting to be an actor, an artist, a director, a designer, a chef, a restaurateur, a world-changing scientist…then landed on marketing in college.

But that all went out the window when I started The Chronicles of Landon Wicker. It didn’t start writing because I thought I wanted to be an author. It was that I had a story I wanted to get out, and it seemed like typing it out with words and dialogue (and all that’s in between) was the best way to do it. After reading books like Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling and the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, I realized there might be a place for a storyteller like me. I don’t consider my writing to be too high-brow or overly stylized like, say, James Joyce, or to have the same eloquent phrasing as Oscar Wilde (although I aspire to it), but I do think I have stories that are full of life and adventure that hopefully will provide a reader with a moment of escape where they can find themselves immersed in the lives of my characters. I want people who read my work to experience excitement and intrigue channeled through innate human truths and emotions.

The odd thing is if you asked me what I wanted to be before I started writing The Chronicles of Landon Wicker, I would have told you I wanted to progress up the corporate ladder in the marketing profession until I could create my own consulting company or build a killer advertising agency. Yet, since the fateful night I wrote the first chapter with Landon Wicker as he discovered his powers and ran away from home, my entire life plan has changed.

Now, if you ask me what I want to do with my life, I would say I want to be a writer, creating fantastical worlds of adventure and excitement that millions of readers can enjoy and interact with, developing characters that are complex and relatable, with personal journeys that touch the audience. I already have ideas for other books, visions of other characters, and worlds that are only just starting to take shape in my mind. And the craziest thing about it all, is somehow, by some twist of fate or some unknown grit, I have become a writer.

What I find funny, though, is that it wasn’t until I was visiting my parents in Florida for Christmas last year that I told them I had written a novel. I kept it totally secret until I had the first draft completed. While my dad asked the usual gamut of questions—What’s it about?What made you write it?Why didn’t you tell us earlier?—my mom left the table and opened up the closet beside the dining room. You all have them. You know, the one that’s filled with board games and linens, vases and grandmother’s china your sister will inherit. I thought she might be pulling out Balderdash or Scattergories (favorites in our family and staples during the holidays), but instead she went to a bin of photographs shoved into the back corner and pulled out a black and white composition notebook. I’d forgotten all about it, let alone knew my mother had kept it all these years. She handed to me, and I instantly started looking through the pages, reminiscing on all the stories I made up, laughing at the horrible spelling and terrible sentences, but what she said as she sat back down was, “You know the first thing you ever told me you wanted to be when you grew up was a writer.”

So now I am an author…I am an author who’s trying to take all my experiences–the people I meet, the places I go, moments with my family, conversations with friends, heartaches, happy days, exciting triumphs, sad failures,  the memory of a holiday and the smell of a particularly delicious cup of coffee–and channel those things into words, words that will transport people and take them on wondrous adventures, words that spark imaginations and touch hearts. I am an author. I don’t know why, but I’ve come back to a dream I somehow forgot, which subconsciously—maybe fatefully—returned. I am an author, and this time I don’t think it’s going away.

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