In 2007 I decided to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming an author. At the time I was a self-employed software consultant. I realized I wouldn’t have sufficient time for writing as long as I was self-employed. I also knew I couldn’t expect to support myself as a writer any time soon. Therefore I accepted an offer of full-time employment and settled into a normal, 40-hour work week. Shortly afterward I began work on my first novel, a near-future science fiction adventure called Centrifugal Force. Because of the book’s political leanings, I doubted I’d find a mainstream publisher, but this didn’t matter. My goal was to express myself, not to become rich and famous.
This was not my first serious attempt at writing fiction. Two decades earlier, I took creative writing courses, attended workshops, and wrote a number of short stories. I submitted a number of these stories to science fiction magazines, but none were accepted for publication. I realize now that I hadn’t put enough work into learning the craft. Now, years later, I was ready to make the necessary sacrifices.
My first act was to join a writers’ group. Through the website meetup.com I found a local sci-fi oriented group called the Grendelmen, after the monster from Beowulf. Through my participation in that and succeeding groups, I made a lot of new friends and learned a tremendous amount about writing.
During this time there were a number of side detours, all of which were valuable learning experiences. From my fellow writers, I learned the benefit of a thoughtful critique and honest feedback. They also motivated me to try writing in unfamiliar genres such as urban fantasy and theater.
In 2012 I finally completed Centrifugal Force. As I expected, the agents I showed it to expressed no interest. That was OK; I knew it wasn’t the kind of work that publishers were currently seeking. I chose the self-publication route on Amazon.com, and although I haven’t seen a lot of sales so far, it was really satisfying to hold my creation in my hands.
Since then, I have worked primarily in the genre of historical science fiction, also known as steampunk. My second novel, Fidelio’s Automata, is about the struggle of an idealistic young inventor to recover his stolen invention, and features eccentric genius Nikola Tesla. Currently, I’m collaborating with my partner Arlys Holloway on the “Professor Ione D” series of steampunk mysteries.
It’s been great fun, but it would be even more enjoyable if I could share my work with a larger audience. Toward that end, Arlys and I will soon be having a giveaway of free copies of Fidelio’s Automata and additional steampunk goodies. See next Sunday’s blog post for more information.