In high school, I was knocked out by Shirley Jackson’s short story, The Lottery. (If you haven’t read it, head to your nearest library.) I thought, man, if I could write like that and make people think and feel, I’d be happy. But I also knew I didn’t want to be a ‘starving artist,’ freezing in an unheated garret in a Paris slum. So I headed to college determined to find a way to make a living.
In addition to studying creative writing, I studied print and radio journalism, film, photography, and marketing. Then an internship at an ad agency did the trick. This I could make a good living at. I’ll write that book someday, I told myself. Someday.
Meanwhile, I wrote advertising of all kinds and web content for such a wide range of clients I’ve learned just enough about different industries to be dangerous. I even ghost blog for companies too busy to keep up. But copywriters get no respect. At cocktail parties people would ask what I do, and I’d say “I’m a writer.” Inevitably, they’d ask if they would have seen my book and I’d have to confess I wrote advertising. Eyes glazed over and they’d signal for another drink.
Fast forward three decades (yikes!) and someday is now. I’ve written four draft novels, a series of mysteries with the same protagonist, Penny McKenna. I’m shopping for an agent, holding out for traditional publishing. Boy, has the business of publishing changed since I first read Shirley Jackson! E-books, self-publishing, brand platforms - I’m learning as I go. Thanks for joining me on the journey, and when (if) my book is picked up, you’ll be the first to know!