Naturally, since the announcement last Wednesday, I’ve been getting more than my fair share of hearty congratulations from colleagues, family and friends old and new. Not everybody was aware I was getting all literary, and for some, the question was…why?
You see, I’ve been a professional writer for nearly 20 years now. I figure I’ve written the word-count equivalent of a dozen novels in my career, thanks to a few non-fiction business books, several dozen magazine features and more news stories than I’d prefer to count. Yet to most folks, I had never really expressed a desire to write fiction. Never took a course, never entered a short-story contest, nada.
So what was it, then? Did the writing speak to me? Was I always a frustrated fiction writer? Was it part of my own personal journey? Spiritual blossoming as I turn 40?
Oy vey. No.
I’ve been telling other people’s stories for nearly two decades, but this was the first time I really felt I had a story of my own to tell. This idea’s been with me for over nine years now, and it was only two years ago that I finally had the time, talent and mental bandwidth to devote to it. So I went for it, plain and simple. Apparently, the result has been worthwhile.
The really cool thing about it is that, despite my lack of fiction chops, I’ve been able to take all that writing experience and apply it to The Daedalus Incident. The ear for dialogue that comes from hundreds of interviews, the observational skills of a reporter on the scene, the appeals to emotion of a long-form feature writer…it’s all in there.
In the end, the act of committing The Daedalus Incident to the page came from the soul. But the actual writing of it was a joyful experience in and of itself, because it took my craft — the skill I’ve used to put a roof over my head for two decades — to new heights.