Apparently, I’m an author.
Sure, I’ve written a book – more than one – and a few short stories, some poems, guest posts and have an ongoing blog, but I struggle to actually call myself an ‘author’. Why is that?
I’m giving a writing workshop at a local Academy next month. The person who contacted me to ask if I’d like to participate said that the students would get a kick out of a ‘real author’ being there. I asked, only half joking, if someone else was going to be there too. Of course, she was referring to me, but it sounded odd…
Me a ‘real’ author?
I don’t know. I’m just me. My daughter thinks that, because I’ve been in the newspaper a few times, on the radio and on the TV, I must be famous. It makes me smile. Yes, people all over the world know my name and have read my book but…
… Wow… People all over the world know my name and have read my book…
Maybe I am a real author…
Anywho. I don’t feel it. I don’t feel any different. People came up to me at a recent Waterstones signing and were treating me like I was some kind of minor celebrity. I felt like looking behind me to see if Lady Gaga or someone had walked in. I don’t FEEL like an author. I FEEL like someone who writes because they can’t not. I FEEL like someone who writes because, if they didn’t, the words would bubble up and ooze out of their ears. I FEEL like someone who, if he didn’t give the characters their own voice, would potentially be classed as having multiple personalities as they vied to be heard.
I can’t help writing. I have to. Is it therapy? Perhaps. My main character incarcerates himself in an asylum. I say to people that Sin is a lot like me, or has a lot of me in him, so maybe the need for literary therapy isn’t too surprising. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot of time to write, but when I do, I’m ‘in the zone’ and washed away by the situations and circumstances I find myself in. I become the character and, as I tend not to plan out my stories, it’s a magical mystery tour for me too.
But, am I a ‘real’ author? I suppose I am. I have a book. More than one, as I said. My main character has his own blog and Twitter account. My book is in the library and in bookstores and available online. I’ve signed copies and received fantastic reviews. Been compared to ‘real authors.’ I suppose I should accept it and embrace my ‘authorship.’
I’d started this with the comment that, apparently, I’m an author. My intention was to talk about other people’s reaction to that but, instead ‘ve rambled on about my own reaction. But what of others’?
It varies and sometimes I’ve wished I hadn’t said anything at all.
Some think it’s great, but don’t take it too seriously: ‘Wow, really? And what’s your real job?’
To be honest, I often forget to say I’m a writer. I’m almost embarrassed, which is crazy as I should be, and am usually, proud. My ‘real’ job is very busy and means I don’t get a lot of time to write. It’s not surprising Sin took me ten years to complete. That leads onto another reaction I get.
This time it’s the people I work with. Granted they’re in the minority, but I get jokes about ‘knocking out another chapter’ and similar hilarious comments. Of course, if I was knocking out chapters at work, that ten years would have been ten weeks, or at the most ten months.
I have had some real support from my colleagues. A few come to signings, buy the book, just say ‘well done’ and mean it.
There’s those that say ‘Well done’ and follow with ‘you must be rolling in it now.’ Hmmm… Not quite.
The best reaction is from those that think it’s great that I’ve written a book. They buy it, read it and tell me they like or love it. One such person, when I asked if he’d started it, told me he’d not only started Sin, but he was on his fifth read and thought it was one of the best books he’d ever read!
But still, there are those kickers-in-the-teeth who ask if I’m knocking another one out. They can make me feel like I’m doing something wrong or something that should be a dirty little secret. Well, that’s not going to work. Loud’n’Proud.
I’ve written a book, more than one, it’s selling quite well, it’s had amazing reviews and actually like it myself!
Hey, some of you admit you’ve never even picked up a book that doesn’t have pictures, and think that’s fine. Maybe that’s why you can’t understand how I was driven to write. You will never know what it’s like to enter another world or another life and lose yourself or become someone else.
I’ve helped people do that. From when my old English teacher captivated us with his reading of To Kill A Mockingbird, I’ve dreamed of doing the same.
I had one lady tell me she actually went down the street from my book on which the ‘Seven Hills’ location in Sin is based. Something like that tells me that, perhaps, I didn’t do too badly.
Hey, apparently I’m an author.
Pleased to meet you.