Today is the only May 17th, 2020 any of us will live – and today is the only day of my life where I can say I’ve released my first novel. I thought it would be appropriate to put some words to the page and share this experience with anyone who might be interested.
I started writing Shadows in April 2018. In the time since, I’ve had periods where my confidence has been sky high, and I’ve thought that I had written a New York Times bestseller. There have been other times where I’ve contemplated deleting it all and not subjecting myself to the vulnerability and anxiety of sharing it with the world at large. Today, I would say my emotions are somewhere in between. I’m proud of what I’ve created. I’m excited to share it. And I feel good about my accomplishment. Long after I’m gone this will stand (even if no one is reading it).
A lot of people ask me where I get my ideas, or what motivates me to write. I’ll try my best to answer some of those questions today. Let’s start at the beginning.
I have always been an escapist. Whether it was a good book, a great movie / television show, or an immersive video game – I feel more at home in a story. I love characters I can relate to, a plot that has purpose, and problems that our protagonists can solve; even if it takes a thousand pages. These worlds are imaginative, but the best of them feel more real than the one we live in.
When I would return to my life after hours of adventure, I would always wake with a cold splash of reality. I have never been a hero from one of the stories. I’m not rescuing the damsel, solving an ancient mystery, or conquering unspeakable evil. I return to a world where I’m an anonymous average joe, 1 in approximately 7.8 billion people.
In the past 20 years I’ve played many roles: A student, a retail manager, a bank manager, a warehouse worker, food service worker, among other things. I have been good at some jobs, and not so good at others. None of my work has saved the world, and most of them have made minimal impact to the big picture – so different from the heroes we read about.
Sometimes, however, when you look close enough, you can find more similarities than you’d think. Shadows of Creation exists in a fictional world of magic, very different from the one we live in. But so many of its themes can be seen around us, every day.
Income inequality. Passion for change (political change and social change). The naivety of leadership. Power. Corruption. Manipulation. Compassion. Self-sacrifice. Friendship. Redemption. Love.
Reading allows us to walk in the shoes of someone different. They aren’t real, but in the creative imagination of the author, those people exist. They are manifestations of the human spirit, representatives of the issues we all live with. They imitate the same life experiences that make our hearts beat faster, or the ones that keep us up late at night. A good story brings all of those things to life inside of us, and lessons are there to be learned if we open our eyes to them.
I write because so many stories have given me hope. They’ve made me examine myself in the mirror, face who I truly am, and who I want to be. I am flawed, and so is each one of my favorite characters. I dream of paying that forward. Great art should challenge our minds and push us to grow as individuals and as a society.
I appreciate all the love and support I’ve had during the entire process. I’m grateful. If you read Shadows, I hope you enjoy. Don’t forget to let me know how you liked it. (and of course, leave an honest review!)