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Sunday, March 23, 2014

Now why do I write - isn't it enough that I've got a good job?

This is an update of an old post, which I had written some time ago, but which I really felt that I needed to republish, as it has now been a whole year since The Book of Drachma, as a trilogy, became a published reality. It has been quite a journey for me. But for now, at least, the journey seems to have stalled out. With our move, my new job, and all that that entails. But still, I do envision myself as a writer of sorts – not highly successful, but nevertheless, I am still at it – still working my way through the continuation of the Drachma story.

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 class. 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 pursued.

But one thing happened in college that really stuck with me, and that was the publication of Stephen Donaldson's best selling, and award-winning 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 grew my own literary efforts. 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 about the inaccuracies of what they were portraying, but the feelings and motivations were all wrong! So, on my way back home, I envisioned this grand medical story – one in which I would get the facts right, but more importantly, get the feelings right.

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 fame (or notoriety) that I write. It is more like some sort of perverse need to allow my characters, who still need to tell their tales, that I write. Hope you can get a copy of my book(s), available on, Barnes & Noble, and similar online sources (and available in three formats - paperback, e-books and audio books) and let me know what you think.

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