When I was young, I never wanted to be an author. I tried writing stories in school. They seemed interesting when I started, but I could never follow through and finish them.
So I stuck with reading what others had written, devouring books, both in print and audio versions (this was before ebooks). Stories drew me in, engrossed me, made me want to turn the page and figure out what would happen next. I couldn't get enough sci-fi and fantasy.
But I never had the desire to go any further than that. Instead, all I wanted in life was to be a musician. I loved to sing and play guitar, bass, and synths. I loved tinkering with audio systems and recording. Most of all, I loved writing songs. I fronted numerous bands, playing everything from punk and hardcore, to progressive experimental rock (think of a post-modern Pink Floyd).
When each band failed or collapsed for whatever reason, my resolve to build a life as a touring musician strengthened. I buckled down, found new people to play music with, and tried to reinvent my ideas in a more successful way.
My last band, The Ascent (and Decline) of Terrion, was an experimental rock group. We wrote songs based on our life experiences, as most musicians do, but instead of making them obvious, we cloaked everything in sci-fi symbology, crafting a unique story told through music and conceptual albums. We had several planned out, the significant events of our lives told through a musical tale.
But then, yet again, the band folded. And this time, I felt lost. I was tired of my fate being tied to other people. I still felt a strong impulse to tell stories, to craft and create worlds others could enjoy and experience. But I was just a musician, not a writer. I had tried to write a novel before. That too had failed. But something about the songs and stories I'd crafted as part of TA(aD)oT gave me confidence to try again, to create without having to rely on others, as I had for so many years.
That's when I started writing Breakers of the Dawn. And as a newbie writer, I bit off so much more than I could chew. It took me years and years of off-and-on-again work to finish my first book, and even then, it was still bad. The story and plot were great, but the nuts and bolts of sentence structure and prose needed a lot of help.
But I kept at it. And since I didn't have to rely on anyone else, I could keep working without worrying people were going to bail. I kept revising, re-writing, and polishing as I learned more about the craft.
Now, over a decade later, I've finished the entire Dawn Saga. It was an ambitious project, one George R.R. Martin likened to climbing Everest as your first rock climb (which is actually a bad analogy because Everest has nothing to do with rock climbing).
And as I'm starting my next series (more news on that in my next newsletter), I feel like I've found my passion, all thanks to music. 🙂