Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Big Thrill

This is essay was originally posted on IAMTW member Burl Barer's blog:

One question I'm often asked -- aside from "where do you get your ideas?" -- is "what's it like to be an author?"That's rather like asking, "what is it like to be you?" Well, I've always been me, so I have nothing to compare with the experience. As for being an author, the big thrill is actually holding the completed, published book in my hand. I will never forget the day my first book was published, and it arrived at my home. On the hardback spine were the words THE SAINT BURL BARER. The full title was on the front, and it is a long title...but seeing THE SAINT BURL BARER on a high quality hardbound book, library binding, fully illustrated was a source of joy and accomplishment for me.

It hasn't changed. I feel that same sense of completion and reward each time I hold my latest book for the first time -- even STEALTH a novelization which I wrote in English but was published only in a Japanese translation.

And even though the publishers send me some promotional copies, I often find the book in the stores before my complimentary copies arrive -- so, I buy one, sit down, and read it.In truth, I can't really read one of my books as if I hadn't written it for at least a year after it comes out -- it is still too fresh in my mind. You know, where I was when I wrote a certain page, or note a paragraph that I agonized over uselessly.

THE SAINT: A Complete History was written in so many cities, on so many different computers, in many different programs: FIRST CHOICE ( dos) LOTUS, WORD PERFECT, MSWORD, RTF, and whatever was available. Hence, each page reminds me of the place I sat, the computer I used, the problems I faced, or the fun I had.

CAPTURE THE SAINT was written in such diverse locales as Burbank, California, Loon Lake, Washington, and mostly at my mother's condo in Seattle, Washington. A former newspaper woman, my mom would proofread each page, and encourage me with treats.

"Give me ten more pages," said Mom, "and I'll give you a bowl of ice cream."

It worked.

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