It started for me as a young boy watching mysteries and dramas at the movies. Passionate moments between the leading man and woman surrounded by intrigue and mystery drew me into the plot. Held captive to the very end, I knew I wanted to touch people in the same way these great writers like Orson Wells, William Faulkner, and Alfred Hitchcock had touched me. Not only were they entertaining, but they, many times, taught good moral lessons.
My first novel, “Moving Sideways”, is filled with all the elements of mystery, suspense, and intrigue I loved as a child. So, why did I wait so long to begin writing?
The answer is very simple. I could barely read. That seemed an insurmountable obstacle when I was growing up. Getting through high school was no easy task. There was one thing on my side, which was my ability to retain most of what I heard. When it was time to take a test I drew on my memory. During a test my eyes watered trying to focus on the words and compile one word at a time until I constructed a complete sentence. Then there was the task of understanding what was being asked. In the end I graduated high school not knowing why I struggled. It was years later I discovered the villain in my life was dyslexia.
At age twenty I found myself on a US Navy Aircraft Carrier crossing the Atlantic heading for the Mediterranean Sea. It was difficult facing people knowing that if I needed to read something it would take a long time and I would probably get it wrong. There I was in the hull of a ship filled with such fear and embarrassment because I could barely read. The weight of the shame was almost more than I could take. Feeling alone among so many people I knew it couldn’t continue.
One day in the ship’s store I started looking at paperback books. The book rack was filled with all types of stories, but only one stood out; Robert E. Howard’s "Conan the Barbarian". This was my chance. There was no way I was going to let this opportunity pass. After purchasing the book I rushed to my rack, the Navy word for bed, and started reading. In just minutes I was fast asleep. The stress and strain trying to focus on the words was exhausting. When I woke, less than a paragraph of the book was read. After several attempts to complete a single paragraph I realized if I used my finger to point out each word my eyes would remain focused. One word at a time was still difficult, but I was determined to read above a third grade level.
After weeks of effort I was finally able to read a complete page without passing out from exhaustion. Before we returned to the US I was able to read without the restriction of fatigue. I went on to complete three degrees with honors. One semester I worked as a freelance journalist for the college where I received my MBA. During that semester five of my articles were published with several photographs associated with the articles. After achieving success in school I decided to pick up the childhood dream I had to become a writer.
You may wonder why I’m sharing my struggle to become a writer. After a childhood of shame it would be easier not to take the risk writing exposes one to. Overcoming my handicap had motivated me to accomplish my dreams. I can only pray that you will be motivated to accomplish your dreams no matter how long or hard your struggle is.
My first series features Debra Thomas. A character that faces her own struggles, but always seems to find away to overcome them like I have. Remember that success is a dreamed fulfilled through perseverance.