Let me introduce myself, by Colin Rowland

Let me introduce myself, by Colin Rowland

I decided for my first post I would expand a bit on my bio. For those who have taken the time to visit my author page, the information contained there is a succinct description but, unfortunately, it gives the just barest of explanations, something that leaves my legions of fans, which last time I checked amounted to me, myself, and I, unsatisfied and clamoring for more. (Hubris? Me? Never!)

As the page says, I am a Canadian, born and raised in the province of Saskatchewan. As a child I was forced, against my will, to attend school, (although I did play hooky in kindergarten, got caught, and received the strap for my disobedience) and like many, I absolutely hated it. It was an introduction to the joys of deciphering the written word that ignited my interest in reading.

I like nothing better than to immerse myself in a well written piece of fiction or history and have since my school years. In fact, I spent most of my free periods and spare time in high school ensconced in the library, my nose buried in a book. In grade nine I became a fan of science fiction, especially anything written by Robert A. Heinlein and, to a lesser degree, Isaac Asimov.  I still consider the original three books in Asimov’s Foundation series to be some of the best science fiction ever written. It was in high school that I stumbled upon The Hobbit and was captivated, by both the story and the complete, well defined world Mr. Tolkien constructed to go with it. It wasn’t until much later that I read his Lord of the Rings trilogy and was blown away again by the sheer genius of his imagination coupled with the depth and breadth of his story.

An English professor at the University of Calgary encouraged me to try my hand at creating my own works of fiction. At the tender young age of sixty, I enrolled in a university prep course geared toward people like myself who had never attended an institution of higher learning. He happened to be in attendance on the night I stood to read a composition prepared as a part of the course assignment.  At the end of the class he approached me to compliment my writing and to offer his opinion that my paper was well written and showed a talent I was not aware I possessed.

I talked with my brother Jann, whose work a couple of you might be familiar with, and he gave me his copy of Pride and Prejudice to read. Two days later, after I had finished the book, he encouraged me to take the plunge and write my own fiction, based on the characters in Miss Austen’s novel (I’m sure he’s still laughing about this) because what’s the worst that could happen? I discovered there is much, much more to writing an entertaining story than to just record a couple of ideas and offer them  for sale. Apparently plot is somewhat important, along with dialogue, description, various realistic characters, etc. And let’s not forget about that unnecessary bit of wasted time called an outline.(LOL)

I have so far published two books of my own and contributed to a Christmas anthology with Jann and Lelia Eye. The reviews of my work have been both positive and negative, the latter outweighing the former, due in large part, I suspect, to both my status as a newcomer to this genre as well as my style of writing which, I freely admit, needs improvement.

When it comes to the plots of my stories, I tend to go against the grain. I like to take the ancillary characters and re-imagine them in different scenarios. I want to explore more of the Pride and Prejudice world than just Darcy and Elizabeth! Now, before you heat the tar and gather the feathers, let me assure you that in my books, Elizabeth and Darcy will ALWAYS end up together and either married or courting. While I might be a rebel, I’m not a complete idiot, an opinion my wife agrees with. I am only a partial idiot, according to her and my daughters, and their opinions are the only ones that count, just ask them.

Going forward, I am working at making necessary improvements to my writing, both in style and in substance, and hope to be able to convince potential readers that my offerings are worthy of their consideration. I have been told by the person who looked over my first two books before publication that she has already seen a marked improvement in the quality of my second story when compared to my first. I take that as a good sign although, thinking back on the discussion, it is possible I was dreaming at the time.

To close before this gets too maudlin and boring (I know, that ship has set sail, struck a reef, and sunk already), I welcome all comments, whether they pertain to this post or my work in general. I read them and try to incorporate helpful suggestions into future projects. I believe that feedback is not only good, but essential to my growth as an author, and believe me, I need to grow.

In case anybody was wondering, this is my portrait. I am not what you would call photogenic and rarely smile for a picture because that tends to scare young children and the faint of heart. It also breaks camera lenses, and those are expensive to replace.

I continue to work on new stories, although progress can be painfully slow this time of year. My full time employment is in the construction industry, where my work day is mainly spent in the design of structures such as decks, garages, pole barns, apartments known as Granny suites, and everything in between. Spending a day pouring over blueprints or wrestling with a CAD program to create a permit-ready series of drawings and spec sheets from rough sketches, too often only drawn on a scrap of paper, can be tiring, so when I get home, I usually don’t want to sit at my computer and write.

I have numerous ideas I am trying to get into outlines and stories and some of them might even see the light of day! (Or not…?)

I think I’ve run out of things to say (and those of you reading this far are probably thinking it should have happened five hundred words ago). As I said, I’m working away at new ideas and stories and hope to publish again before Christmas. In my mind it will be equivalent to the next War and Peace, but to everybody else it might be closer to the Dick and Jane elementary school books in quality. Such is life.

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27 COMMENTS
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darcybennett
September 10, 2020 4:53 AM

Welcome to Austen Authors. I enjoyed learning about you and look forward to reading more from you.

reginajeffers
Admin
August 26, 2020 8:22 AM

Welcome, Colin. As you well know, I am “Regina” The word “Regina” in Latin means ‘Queen’ and is pronounced ‘Rey-jee-nuh’. The pronunciation of the city of Regina, Saskatchewan, rhymes with a female body part. Please know that the last male who used that pronunciation was knocked off a bar stool by me. LOL!

I adored reading your introduction. I am one of those freaks of nature who skipped years of school and was in college at 15. My first grade teacher wrote a note on my report card saying, “Regina will never be able to read and write like other children.” That is because I did part of my first year of formal schooling (having spent my preschool years at a laboratory school run by the local university) in bed, unable to walk because of rheumatic fever. When I finally entered school, I would not answer her. LONG story. Anyway, I guess Mrs. Sturgeon (We called her “detergent” at my house) was correct. I do not read and write like others. You should keep that in mind. Write what is in your heart. Some will like it. Some will not. Yet, it must satisfy your creative soul, not theirs.

Gianna ThomasGia
AuAu
August 26, 2020 3:30 AM

How nice to welcome another Rowland to Austen Authors. Loved your intro and your humor. Yes, I too had my time with Science Fiction: Heinlein, Asimov, and especially Star Trek for many a year. However, P&P variations have ruled the roost since 2012. Am buying your two P&P’s and will let you know what I think. Look forward to your posts. 🙂

J. W. Garrett
J. W. Garrett
August 25, 2020 3:09 PM

Welcome to our party, Colin. We are always happy to invite new authors into the world of Austenesque. We don’t bite… unless you don’t put D&E together and give them a HEA. Oh, and you will need to learn a few of our abbreviations. You know JAFF [Jane Austen Fan Fiction], ODC [our dear couple], D&E [easy, Darcy & Elizabeth], DHP [Disastrous Hunsford Proposal], and my all time favorite and go to when describing Wickham… SBRB [scum-bag-rat-bastard]. If someone should accuse you of writing OOC [out of character] you need to know what they are saying. ODB & ODG [our dear boy & girl of course] are favorites. WTH [what-the-heck or another word my mother won’t let me use].

Have fun and enjoy the ride. We will cheer you on and give feedback whether you want it of not. There will always be lines someone thinks you should never cross; however, it is an ever changing delineation. It moves according to the person giving you heck for crossing it. A few authors brave the abuse and write what the heck they want… even allowing D&E to loathe hate and despise each other for all eternity and marry someone else. Whew!!! Tar and feathers would be the least of your worries.

Here, at least, we’ll try to be kind. That is not always the case on the web. Pick your battles and ignore the trolls and those other names your daughters can advise you on for people who love to slash and burn egos while they hide behind the anonymity of their device screens.

Don’t hesitate to seek help if you need it, we are all friends here. Most of all… just be true to Austen and yourself. Seek outside advice during those times when your wife and daughters don’t agree with you. Although, by now, you know they are never wrong. Recognize that statement? If not… refer back to P&P for a refresher course in dialogue. LOL!! You know those letters or you can refer to your girls… they will know.

Blessings, Colin, have fun and just laugh.

Robin G.
Robin G.
August 25, 2020 2:42 PM

Welcome, Colin! It was great learning more about you. I look forward to reading your future contributions.

Marie H
Marie H
August 25, 2020 2:02 PM

This New Brunswicker welcomes you!

Mirta Ines Trupp
AuAu
August 25, 2020 1:45 PM

Hello Colin and welcome! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your debut post.
My son is a great fan of Tolkien and Asimov, and we’ve shared countless hours discussing their work. Do you use an element of fantasy in your writing? I look forward to getting to know you better.

Mirta Ines Trupp
AuAu
August 25, 2020 1:39 PM

Hello Colin! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your debut post. My son is a great fan of Tolkien and Asimov, and we’ve shared many hours discussing their work. Do you use a fantasy element in your own writing? I look forward to getting to know you better.

Sharon Lathan
Admin
August 25, 2020 1:07 PM

Hey Colin! I am so excited to have another Rowland in our group! I also have to ditto what Diana said below: Your great sense of humor will definitely make for a great addition to our already awesome group. Fun times ahead!

Strange how we are almost twins in our formative years. I was one of those bizarre children who loved school (my mom had to force me NOT to go when feeling ill, for example) but I always had a novel in my hand. The hour bus ride went by in a flash thanks to a fascinating story. And I also discovered the world of sci-fi and fantasy at a very young age, first Arthurian legends and then The Hobbit when 12. From there, my passion for fantastical worlds took over. Love Austen came much, much later.

Anyway, twin bro, so glad to have you with us. Thanks for a fabulous introduction.

cindie snyder
cindie snyder
August 25, 2020 9:41 AM

Welcome! You do have a good Sense of humor and I’m sure your books will take you a long way. I like secondary characters too!

Vesper
August 25, 2020 8:01 AM

Glad to know there is someone writing about the secondary characters, my much preferred read

Riana Everly
AuAu
August 25, 2020 7:24 AM

Hello from another Canadian! I wasn’t born here but I grew up in Edmonton, and in my heart the prairies are always home.
I completely agree about Asimov – his Foundation books changed my life. His universe building (in his case, literally) just awed me, and if I’m asked to name my favourite books, they’re always on the list. Ditto the Tolkien. Just fabulous pieces of fiction.

Chelsea K
Chelsea K
August 25, 2020 2:26 AM

Welcome to Austen Authors! I spent all my free time, study halls, and even a large portion of my lunchtime during Senior year reading while in High School as well. Then in college I spent all my time between classes in various chairs throughout the campus halls because they kept moving my good reading chairs. I look forward to hearing more from you and hope you are staying safe in this strange year we have been having.

Diana J Oaks
AuAu
August 25, 2020 1:23 AM

Welcome, Colin. Thank you for sharing a little bit more about yourself – from which I have decided that you have a great sense of humor and that you’ll make a great addition to the lineup here at Austen Authors. We look forward to hearing more from you!

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