Monday, May 13, 2013

A writer’s calling



I recently received my ninth unsolicited review for DROP OUT ( http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005FX0K7U ) on Amazon and I am quite pleased with the five star rating and comment. It seems the book is really having an impact on people. I’ve been getting fan email (for the first time) and reading a lot of discussions on social media about how the story has changed reader’s lives. That’s what I had hoped for when I wrote the book.

I knew the plot would question the reader’s outlook on life but what surprised me most is by how much. I wrote the first draft of the story during an eight day period when my wife was performing hospice for a friend who was dying of pancreatic cancer. This friend went into the doctor with a backache, got the horrible diagnosis, and passed away a week later. The second half of DROP OUT is based on this experience of dealing with those last days of life.

The first half of the book examines loss and tragedy and how one man couldn’t cope. He drops out of society to live out his days in isolation and loneliness. Disfigured and depressed, the main character learns the importance of living life to the fullest by someone who has little life left. The same lesson learned on the day our friend died in his apartment leaving behind a long list of regrets and unfulfilled dreams.

Funny thing about DROP OUT, it’s the only manuscript that my agent didn’t want to represent, saying it was too literary and that he signed me to be a thriller/YA sci-fi writer. When I became adamant that he give it a chance in the marketplace he dropped me as a client. I went through a phase of depression and anger, and cursed everyone and the world. What saved me from giving up the dream of becoming a published author was the very theme I had written about in DROP OUT. Live your dreams no matter what.

Now, three years after losing my NY agent and two years after publishing DROP OUT, I find that the book is by far my best seller out of my nine books now available worldwide. I’ve sold thousands of copies and given away even more. Although I’d like to say it’s made me rich… it hasn’t, but I’m no longer thinking about writing just for the money. I believe reading DROP OUT will affect a reader deeply and give pause to reflect upon the meaning of life, love, and loss. If I have achieved that, then I have achieved all that I ever hoped my writing would do.