It might be easier to start off with why I don’t write. I don’t write to teach a lesson. I don’t write to spread a message. I don’t write to sprinkle hope or joy or any of those other commendable things.
I write because life is hard, and understanding it is nearly impossible.
I write because story is a gift that allows us to deal with the hardships that would otherwise be too difficult to consider.
I write because fiction is an art form that expands beyond the realm of expression. It invites the participant to do more than empathize. And while I love the depth of feeling in the visual arts, and while I love the journey and the satisfaction of music, it is story that gives me a medium in which to wrestle with the parts of life that refuse to be defined by a color or a chord progression. Writing allows me to grapple with the parts of life that require, but evade, reconciliation.
I’m always caught off-guard when people ask me mechanical questions about sales or my career as a writer. The truth is, barring a miracle, writing novels will never pay the bills. The tandem truth is that it doesn’t matter. And it can’t matter.
Now, I work hard to sell books. It’s an obligation to my publishers and to myself. Sometimes it can be fun, but most authors would tell you that they would rather write ten more books than face the rejection inherent in the marketing endeavor of one. It’s hard, and it’s personal, and it requires me to fight the temptation to house the value of something intended to reside in this hazy place that doesn’t demand outside illumination under the fluorescent bulb of corporate success. The question of numbers devalues the artist’s definition of success as something that exists in those intimate moments where a reader has found comfort or community in the writer’s words.
The beauty is that recognizing this brings the author full circle, brings me full circle, reminding me of what made me write in the first place.
Writing is personal. Publishing is something of a matter of speculation. I write because fiction is the only way I can make sense of life, and I publish because I hope that my stories will do for you what they do for me.
I write to feel, to breathe, to heal. And today, as Ione finally tells her story, I hope she creates a path for you to feel, for you to breathe, and for you to heal.
If you are in a place where you need something that you can’t really name, try reading a book. Mine or someone else’s. It doesn’t matter, but I’d be honored if you would consider one of mine.
I write because fiction gives me something nothing else can, and I hope my stories will do the same for you.
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Click through on this Author Interview and check out the giveaway for Devil in the Dust!
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MTL Article Nov. 1, 2016
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