“So, I ask myself the question…what force is it that compels me to write so incessantly, day after day, page after page, story after story…And the answer is quite simple…I have no choice…I am a writer…”
-Neil Simon, The Good Doctor
Good evening, Gentles,
Welcome to my ramblings. I tend to ramble a lot. And sometimes weirdly. But, hopefully, you will find that amusing.
Back in the early 2000s, I wrote and published three little novels:
The Blood Waltz (2000)
Fiend Angelical (2004)
The Visconti Devils (2006)
I was turned down by the big publishers for years, so I decided to self-publish. I had stories inside me and I had to get them out. I couldn’t keep them to myself, and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.
I found that it is virtually impossible to compete with the big corporate publishing houses, unless you are already rich or a celebrity. I am neither. I got some good reviews. I had some enthusiastic readers. I sold a few books. I began to doubt myself. I walked away.
But I couldn’t stay away. Not forever. It was sort of like pining away for a lost love.
Sometimes I think being a writer is a kind of madness, not unlike hearing voices or having imaginary friends. I get ideas for novels by waiting for inspiration to strike me – in other words, I don’t go looking for stories, they come and find me. Some of the characters I have to work at a bit; some of them appear out of nowhere and demand I write about them, rather like Athena springing, fully-armoured, from the head of Zeus. Sometimes two or more characters will show up and have a conversation in my head, particularly at times when I am still, such as when I am riding the bus or lying in bed waiting to fall asleep. That is why I frequently carry a notebook around with me, to write them down before they get away. Like I said, a kind of madness.
I guess I am kind of a free spirit. I always have been, much to my parents’ chagrin. Just when someone thinks they have me figured out, I pull a fast one on them. I don’t mean to. It’s just the way I am. I like to think of myself as mercurial. Or maybe ethereal. That’s why I would never have fit into the corporate straitjacket that the publishing world has become, anyway. I cannot force a story, I cannot meet a deadline and I most certainly cannot stick to a word quota. My novels are as long as the story is – I write until I get to the end, and that is where it ends. Period.
In some ways, I am very methodical. Organized. Analytical. Perhaps just a little obsessive-compulsive. I think too much. That is probably the German in me. I think my house is a mess if there are a couple of piles of paper somewhere. But my writing is different. It is always something that just flows through me – like breathing.
So, when I tried to walk away from writing, I later found I couldn’t stay away. This is such a large part of who I am. I’m not going to let anyone tell me who I am or what I can do. I can figure that out myself.
In the end, I guess you could say Kieran and Selena came calling for me. Do you remember them from The Blood Waltz? They’re back.
Strap yourselves in, ladies and gentlemen. We’re going for a ride.