Before I even thought about being a writer, I was a reader. As an only child living in rural New England, even the small-town cliche of walking everywhere to keep myself entertained was right out, since we lived right on the edge of the area's main highway. Thankfully, my family had a large patch of land behind the house that bordered the forest and river, so I could tromp around all of that and let my mind wander. So wander I did ... and when I wasn't wandering, I would read. I read curled up on a patch of spongy moss in the back fields, or under the trees, or on the porch, the little jungle gym in the back yard, the couch ... If you could perch there and bring a snack or a drink, I'd read there. As much as I loved where I lived, I loved the places books could take me, even more, and I loved the people in them who kept me company. So when I cracked open Writing With A Day Job by Aine Greaney recently, doing her opening exercise of setting personal goals didn't surprise me as much as I'd thought it might.
Maybe five or so years ago, my goals as an author would have been loftier: publishing! Best-seller lists! Gushing reviews! Envious former classmates and co-workers! But last night, I set down what I really, truly want from my writing, and I feel it's only fair I share it with you.
As a writer, I want to set my worlds and the people in them free, so that they will outlast me. I would like them to be popular, sure - what writer wouldn't? - but right now, the most important thing to me is that they are preserved. Manuscripts and notes have to exist to be discovered, and for that, all these roads and places and oddball folks have to make it out of my head and onto the page. Readership of any size, once that's done with, is a bonus.
I want to be the sort of writer who is known for the richness of their creation, the breadth of it. I want to at least come close to the scope of my favorites, old and new: Terry Pratchett, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, Brent Weeks, Daniel Handler (or even his friend Mr. Lemony Snicket), and my favorite childhood retreat's creator, Brian Jacques. Not to sound stuck-up, but I know that amount of detail and depth is there... I've spent over a decade weaving it, after all. I just need to stop hoarding it and get it all out, out, OUT. And that's where you, my reader, come in.
When you read my work, I want you to feel as though you're escaping to visit old friends, just like I did, or that your troubles might not be as bad as theirs. I want you to come to love these places and people I create as much as I do. I want you to be able to not just sense that the town of Aviario is my second home: I want you to feel at home there, too, to feel free to roam its streets at your leisure like Buster on a Sunday afternoon, or invite yourself into your favorite character's home whenever you feel like it, put your feet up, and spend some time with them. If I'm really, really doing it properly, I would hope that their truths and lessons will be things you carry with you close to your heart, that there might even be one little passage or moment that lingers with you after you've closed the book and walked away.
Starting with these first two novels, that's what I'm going to try to do. It may take me a little while to get there, since I'm doing it a few pages at a time, but I will put this world of mine out there for the sharing. And once I do, I sincerely hope you'll give it even a brief visit and tell me what you think.
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