For the majority of my formative years, I rejected who I really was in favor of who I believed I needed to be to achieve the most success in life. And by success, I mean money. I grew up in a lower-middle class household in the suburbs of Milwaukee. Neither of my parents held an advanced degree (my father left behind his Associates Degree and career in electronics for the day to day grind of carpentry and my mother was a lifetime secretary, first for various area lawyers and then for the school district I attended). They were married very young (20 and 19 respectively) and I didn't come along until 11 years later. I would be their only child.
My childhood was fairly basic. Benefiting from my parents' sole attention, I developed intellectually at a very high level. I was reading before age 3 and spent any time I was alone making up stories and adventures for me to go on in my own room. My parents couldn't give me everything I wanted as far as material things, but I had everything needed (and looking back, a good amount of what I wanted). School was easy for me, I scored top marks on every standardized test, and I easily got myself accepted at the University of Wisconsin (though I wouldn't today, I don't think). I excelled in music, drama and English and I was a fairly devout christian. (It is my given middle name, after all).
So what was the problem? Short answer. I was also really good at math and science as well and believed the media and government propaganda of the time that "math and science are the way to your future". So I decided that I needed to force myself into a major that most students take six years to complete, one which you're not even supposed to start your prerequisites for until your junior year, right off the bat as a freshman. Meanwhile, I filled out my schedule with more science and math classes and by the time my sophomore year ended, I was on academic probation, partying and drinking more than I was going to class and had completely imploded personally and scholastically. Fortunately, by this time, my parents had finally decided they could divorce now that I was no longer living at home so, as some sort of compromise for that, I was allowed to find my own path.
This path led to forming a couple of bands, eventually pursuing an education in music technology (which is a degree I never even came close to using), getting a steady job with a hotel group, where I did well enough to make enough extra money to pay cash for pretty much anything I wanted for the next eight years before I hit the ceiling in hospitality and moved over to dabble in real estate. Somewhere along the way, I developed my interest in true crime and serialized crime and detective series. And I would begin my first drafts of several different mystery novel concepts, none of which made it past a few chapters.
I soon met an amazing woman and decided I wanted to make her my wife (which she thankfully agreed to). In the first year of our marriage, I began to develop the in-world mythology that would for the basis of The Demon Sight, mainly as a story I would tell in my head to entertain myself as I walked the dog in the wee hours of the morning. Slowly, the first novel began to form, but still, I was a real estate agent first and a writer in my spare time. Then we found out we were pregnant. Suddenly, thanks to the flexibility of my job, I was going to be working from home and accepting the duel role of stay-at-home-dad and taking on only a handful of clients each year. With my wife's encouragement, I decided it was time to buckle down and finally finish Unholy Shepherd before my son was born. And I did.
The two year journey from finishing the book to where we are now, re-releasing the previously self published debut novel with Ten16 Press in Wisconsin, is a tale of trial and error as I learned the lessons most a lot of independent authors learn and maybe one day I'll go into that in further detail. The main point is, after 35 years, I've finally embraced who I was meant to be. When I was young I went through the laundry list of the usual "What I Want To Be When I Grow Up" things: archaeologist, architect, landscape architect, electrical engineer, athlete (golfers are athletes, right?). Yeah, I was a weirdly focused kid. But I never put the things that I was truly best at on the list: writing, music, performance (I mean, come on, I was in every play and musical there was during my time in high school but never joined math club or robotics or even took a shop class. What did I think I was going to end up doing?). Am I going to go on and sell a million books and become a household name in the literary world? I'm going to try, but in some ways, I've already succeeded. I am who I was always meant to be. I am a story-teller. I am a world-builder. I am a writer.
I don't just write novels. I just like to write. This blog will not be polished, it won't be edited closely. There will be spelling and grammar errors and it might drag on in places. But it will be fun, off the cuff, genuine, and hopefully interesting to read!