If you write books, sooner or later you will be asked how you came to write them, in essence why have you written what you have written the way you have written it? I have been asked such questions. I have even been asked, “Do you use a formula or something?”
The genesis of my desire to write fiction grew out of a level of personal dissatisfaction with what others have written. I had arrived at a point where most novels I read failed to fulfill me in some way; something I sought was no longer there, some element or elements that once captivated me were missing. Books no longer transported me into another dimension.
What had changed? Was it me? Had I outgrown the books of yesteryear? True enough, when I tried to return to those special books of my youth my feelings for them were not the same. How can you ever replicate those first moments of discovery?
The books most memorable to me are the ones I read during my youth and young adulthood. I recognize now that a book may have a different impact when one is young; when all things are possible and every road lies open before you.
But are dreams, fantasies, heroes only for the young? I refused to believe that. I knew that those same reveries lay dormant somewhere within me, waiting for the right stimulus to bring them back to life. Those stimuli, those catalytic ideas may no longer be dressed in the same clothing as my youthful ones, but would not their essence remain unchanged?
When I thought back to those books that so memorably marked my passage, I found that they had many of the same features in common. I wrote them down. There were not so many, but I knew that the odds of finding those exact same elements in the desired proportions between the covers of someone else’s book were remote. I realized then that if I wanted to read a book with those specific features, that formulated fiction, I would have to write it myself.
And I did. My first book, THE OTHER, is the product of this process. All of the ideas on my list are present in this story. I was excited to find that this formula still works for me. I was captivated while writing the book, much more so than while reading other books. And even now having read it many, many times, to edit or quote from it or present talks about it, I can still read it with enjoyment. It is the perfect fit for me. I wrote my next novel, MESTACLOCAN, the same way. The greatest challenge now was to make it different while making it the same. And my third novel is nearing completion. It, too, is being written according to the formula (look for that book this Fall).
Do all authors write the same way? I suspect we do, at least in part. We are all prisoners of our formative years; the people and places and moments from those times will always color our world view.
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