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.