Being an Author

As The White Wolf and The Darkness gets more and more exposure, I am feeling what it is like to actually be an author.  I didn’t think I was going to feel very different about anything until I had made it big and sold a ton of books, and then I thought I’d feel VERY different.  I realize now that it’s actually more like the whole “growing up” or “adult” experience, the changes one feels are subtle and plentiful, and some of them are a huge shock.

I think the first time I noticed this was when we got the proof of my novel from the printer.  I had a copy, the FIRST copy, of MY book in my hands.  I felt as though I should be overwhelmed with emotion, but I wasn’t — and this is really odd, because anyone who knows me knows I’m big on feels.  It was really cool to see my work in a printed written form, but I just wasn’t slammed by it the way I thought I’d be.  It wasn’t until my friend Cooper came over and saw it sitting on the table.  He reacted with his trademark, “OOH!” which is of the highest of praises coming from him.  Someone who was not my wife was genuinely and fervently excited to read my book.  It was at this moment that I felt that rush of emotion I was expecting.

Another very cool moment that signified to me that I was, and am, in fact, an author by trade, was the first time someone made fun of one of my characters.  A friend of mine, who I’ll call friend A because I do not wish to embarrass them, and I were having a conversation with my wife Liz and another friend who I’ll call friend B for the same reason.  The subject of the book came up and both friends claimed to be somewhere in the middle of it.  I remained silent except to thank them for reading it.  I did this for two reasons, first: I didn’t want to open my big mouth as I am want to do and spoil the story for them and second:  While I am not at all humble about my work (cause it is pretty damned good), I try to be modest.  Liz, being more encouraging to me and less modest to others asked which character they liked the best.  My two friends rattled off the characters they liked and the qualities of those characters.  Friend B mentioned a like of Asala, the magician, and began to express why.  Friend A immediately made a catty snarky scowl and turned to my wife saying “I don’t like Asala.”  Friend A then began to mock Asala, making fun of her struggles and her methods and just about everything about her.  Both my wife and friend B urged friend A to stop, as they felt I would be hurt by his words, but I insisted that he continue.  You see, it was great, because in that moment I wasn’t the author.  He wasn’t sparing MY feelings because I was his friend and had written the book.  He was talking GENUINELY about a book he was reading.  My book.  He was making fun of the PERSON that was Asala.  Not the way she was written, not how I wrote her, but HER.  Asala was REAL and friend A simply didn’t like her.  Which was flipping great!  Someone was making fun of MY character!  I was a writer!

(Oh and friend A?  If you’re reading this and you still don’t like Asala…that’s ok, cause she likes you just fine.)

Another great moment was short, sweet, and wonderful.  It was also brought to me AND you, once again, by my lovely wife Liz.  We were in Hastings looking for movies and Liz had disappeared for a bit.  She finally found me again and guided me over to the Sci-Fi section of books in the store.  There on a lower shelf were three of the copies we’d consigned to the store a week earlier.  This was powerfully significant for two reasons.  The first was that we’d given the store FIVE copies of The White Wolf and The Darkness, which means two had already sold… like a week……WINNING!  The second was that my book, that I had written, was surrounded by the work of Sci-Fi giants.  Immediately next to my book was a copy of The Forever War by Joe Haldeman and only a few short shelves away from was of my favorite authors R.A. Salvatore, whose work covered two shelves.  Also not far away was a copy of A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin.  My book was here amongst these real authors.    I was an author.

On January 25th I will be doing a book signing at the Hastings in St. Joseph and you should all come.  I think it’s going to be another one of those moments that change things for me and reinforce my confidence as an author.  I just have no idea how it is going to do so and I am looking forward to the surprise.  I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I am DOING a book signing.  I think I’m most excited about something that might seem small to others.  When someone asks me what I do, I don’t have to explain what shit job I’m currently working at to make extra money, or express shame at not being currently employed.  I will be able to firmly look that person in the eye and state boldly,  “I’m a writer.”

Are you a writer?

Any other writers out there?  Or any other folks with similar experiences in their chosen vocations or fields?  I’d LOVE to hear those stories.  Leave your responses in the comments below.  Have a wonderful day!