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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why do I write?

My friend, Diego Green, Just posted a very interesting piece on his own blog, Demolishing the Block, which brought up the interesting subject of why we write. Now I can't answer for anyone else, but I thought that I'd try to explain a bit of the why behind The Book of Drachma. Especially since the first part, Laminar Flow, is about to make its world-wide debut this month.

Now to begin, I have to take you back a ways. Now I've always thought that I "had a book in me" that wanted to get out. Even thinking back to childhood, and those exercises in English class, which just seemed to whet my appetite for something more substantial. And even later, in college, what I remember most vividly was that instead of a term paper, our professor allowed us to write something fictional instead, and so came Professor Snubkin's Hamletpain. A one act play, which I wrote, we performed, and I directed, to the amusement of our college. But then, as I had to make a career choice, I realized that medicine was where I was going, and I've not regretted it. It has been a rewarding thing to have done.

English: Stephen R. Donaldson on a 2007 book tour.Image via Wikipedia

English: Kai Bird, Pulitzer Prize winning auth...Image via Wikipedia

But one thing happened in college that really stuck with me, and that was the publication of Stephen Donaldson's fantasy trilogy, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. Now this was particularly relevant to me, as I knew Steve Donaldson - he was my brother's age, and we attended the same boarding school in India. Now I do not pretend to have anywhere near the talent that Steve has, but that little bit of fertilizer and seed was planted in my own psyche. Then, to make matters even more compelling, someone in my own class in boarding school, Kai Bird, went ahead and wrote American Prometheus (the story of J. Robert Oppenheimer), and he got a Pulitzer prize for doing so.

Well, this was indeed the fertile soil from which I was primed and ready. And it happened at a medical conference in Cincinnati, late in 1988, when there were a bunch of us sitting around at lunch, bemoaning the state of the medical profession, as portrayed in the lay media. Not just the inaccuracies of what they were portraying, but the feelings and motivations were all wrong!

And so, as I now had a word processor at home, there seemed to be nothing in my way (except time), so I began to write what eventually became The Book of Drachma. It truly became an obsession with me, and a compulsion as well. I wrote the first part quite quickly, and I wrote a few more chapters into the second part. But then, I went through a divorce, moved, changed computer systems, and all the while my novel (which did not yet have a name) just sat in my office gathering dust. Then, late in 2009, one of the women in my office (Michelle Ogle), offered to transcribe my novel into a word-compatible format, and I decided to put it out on my blog, one chapter per week. But then it needed a name - so The Book of Drachma it became.

Now, what was my own motivation for all this writing? It certainly was not money. No, rather, by now the characters themselves were clamoring to be heard, and to have their stories told. It became harder to keep to the story line that I had envisioned, with all these characters, whom I loved, wanting to speak. But, by the time I was nearly done with Part Three, I realized that the characters themselves had told an even better tale than I could have envisioned for them. From then on, it was just a matter of finding a voice for these characters, and I stumbled onto Tate publishing.

So, you see, it's not for money that I write. It is more to allow my characters, who need to speak, that I write. Hope you can get a copy of my book, and let me know what you think. My website is:
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  1. I think we all have stories like this, of being bitten in one way or another by the writer bug. You are lucky to have more than one great passion in your life, and even luckier that you have had opportunity to pursue them.

    Thanks for sharing your journey though, I always knew that your motivations for writing this story were pure but it's nice to get a larger look at the story. And I'm sure there are characters in your head that are far form finished in the telling their tale.

  2. I am glad to read more behind the book :) Thanks for posting this ♥

  3. It's something that I've thought about, but never really put down on "paper." When asked about how I write - whether I have everything already plotted out or not, my answer is no - that would be too boring for me. I am literally a character-driven writer.