Here I am, just 7 days from the launch of my first novel.
Wow. As much as this is the beginning of something new and amazing for me, it's also an ending. In the movies, the struggling artist's story always ends when they make it. They play the big concert. They get a standing ovation for a theater performance. They walk out onto the red carpet of their movie premier.
For most authors, a book launch is the closest we get to that. In a week's time, I'll stand up in front of friends, family, and supporters I haven't even met yet, and thank them. Because without people to appreciate it, art has no meaning.
Sitting on a shelf, a book is just sheets of ink and paper, held together with a chemically-produced adhesive. But when someone opens that book and looks at the words, it comes to life. Whole worlds are created every day, not by the writers, but by the readers. Their imaginations are what make the words live. They are why I now get to do this.
These past few weeks, I've talked about how I developed Locked Within, where Nathan Shepherd came from, and how he has changed and grown, as I have, through this journey. Some people would say I've had a rough time of it. I was a victim of bullying. I've watched people turn on me. I've lost a son. But my god, I have so much to be thankful for.
I was 12 years old when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I had no idea how to do it, or even the slightest clue about how to tell a story. I just knew, more than I've known anything else, that this was what I wanted to do with my life. 20 years later, I've made that dream come true. I have a wife, a happy home with two gorgeous dogs, the love and support of friends and family, and twins on the way. I wouldn't trade my life for anything in the world.
I feel like I've made it to the end credits. I always figured that if my life had a song for that, it would be something like St Elmo's Fire, above. Life's given me some hard lessons. They did break the boy in me, as the song goes, but they won't break the man. Whatever else life has in store for me, I have this. There is a book out there with my name on it. And I hope it's making people happy.
Thank you, everyone who has followed me this far. I hope you'll stick around to follow me to the next chapter.