Well, we are getting ready for the big book launch party tomorrow. We're expecting 30-50 people. It's really an epic event for me, something I've been striving for all my life. I'm hoping some old friends will come, too. I've been chatting with some people I haven't seen for thirty odd years - and, at times, they have been odd years indeed.
When I was in my twenties, I still harbored ideas of becoming rich and famous from writing. When that dream died, I stopped writing for about five years. I didn't even read a book. When I started reading again, I started writing again. Reading good writing inspires me to write in the same way that listening to a good musician makes a person want to play. It's its own reward.
Then when I went through a really rough stretch in the 90's - quitting my job, getting divorced - writing helped me through it. In the pages of my fiction, I did horrible things to the people who disappointed me. It wasn't very good writing, but it helped me to exorcise some demons and to channel my angst constructively. It was writing as therapy.
In 2001 I was surprised to find myself upset by 9/11. (I thought I could intellectualize it but found I couldn't). I was mad and scared. So I decided to write a story about a person who was caught in the tower when it collapsed. (Incredibly, people really did survive the collapse). I wanted to get as close to it as I could. So I did the research, read the accounts of the survivors, and wrote in the first person. It helped.
I was no stranger to research, I had done quite a bit of it before when I was struggling to write a novel about Ireland — a novel that never materialized. This time, however, it was even more interesting and fulfilling, and I was ready to write. So I decided to write a historical fiction novel that would demand a lot of research. I decided to pick a period of western history that was obscure, the one period of western history that was the least known and least understood by scholars. Surprisingly, I found that this was the Fall of the Roman Empire.
So that's how "The Wind in the Embers" and The Amulet Series was born. And tomorrow I'm going to have the book launch party for my first book in this series.
It's been a long road, and yet, at last, here I am. Thank goodness.