It’s been a long time coming. But, the feeling of opening up the cardboard box from the publisher and finally holding in my hand the very first edition, hot off the press, copy of one of my books is indescribable. Yeah, those who know me will find use of that word hard to swallow, words are my stock in trade, after all.
For all of my adult life, and its been a long one, Ive wanted to be a published author, but for so many years real life got in the way. The ideas for plot lines and characters never stopped coming, and often while walking around a lake, or driving to work ideas would tumble around in my head and threaten to escape captivity. But, to actually find the time to sit down and write a hundred thousand word or so book…….well who can find that time? I had to work for a living, bring up children, and yes, find time to read some good books myself.
So ideas would come and go in my imaginary world until thanks to a song lyric and cajoling from my wife and children I made the time, and then, of course I wondered why I hadn’t done it years ago.
I can promise you one thing, to get from point A: an idea for a story to point B: holding a printed copy in your hand is an incredibly long and hard process full of self doubt and worry. Its not that that process isn’t enjoyable, because it is, but boy, is it ever hard work. Each of my books have been through at least five re-writes, and that was before my editor, Alex, took her red pen and suggested hundreds, if not thousands of changes. Some were minor grammatical errors, others were plot holes, continuity problems and all sorts of other things a writer can’t see because they live insidethe story line, and it takes someone outside to see the issues.
Who knows whether I will find success, fame and fortune? Probably not as I’m sure there are lots, and lots better authors than me who don’t make it. Yet do you know something? Holding one of these books in my hands I feel very successful. I feel pretty darn good to be honest.
You can call it ego (I’ve been called worse) but there are two things that can happen to a writer that mere money can’t buy. One is when someone reads one of my stories and then takes the time and effort to email or post a review, or pick up the phone and tell me how much they loved the experience. Hearing someone describe something Ive written in words and phrases like, “I couldn’t out it down” or “Steve, this book is fantastic!” make me grow six inches taller, and I already tower over my wife Jacqui. The second great thing that can happen to a writer happened to me only yesterday.
I drove to the post office, queued up for what felt like an hour and handed my ‘parcel arrived’ notice over the counter. A short time later, well it felt like three hours later, was handed over four heavy boxes. I wanted to rip one open right there, but somehow stayed calm and took them to my car, sat inside it in the car park as rain tumbled around me, and opened up the carton. With trembling hands. I reached inside and finally held in my hand a book with a glossy cover, a fantastic image created by Katrina Wall, and saw the name of the author: Stephen B King.
Life doesn’t get much better than that moment.
I hope people buy the books, not because I want to make money out of it, but because I think the stories and characters want to be read. If that sounds like I’m just a little insane, I can live with that. But you see these tales, and people, are very real to me.
I would be very happy to sign a copy for a reader, and write a personal message, very happy indeed.