The Story Behind the Stories

As you may or may not know, I began publishing my sci-fi saga “The Kesher Chronicles” Dec 2015. What you may not be aware of is what a huge, bold step personally it was for me.

I always loved writing stories as a kid — I was especially into the mysteries of Nancy Drew, Agatha Christie, and The Three Investigators. In my teens I read Michael Crichton’s stories voraciously. I actually won a regional prize for a 7-page sci-fi story I wrote in elementary school; it was typed on a typewriter (!) and was called, “Journey to the Edge of the Universe”… or something like that. Not long after, I created my own version of a Nancy Drew mystery. Sort of a young “fan-fic” if you will; handwritten, too. 😉

When I hit 12 years of age, I found myself so in love with creating stories and worlds and characters that I wrote my first mystery story. It was definitely a knock-off of the Nancy Drew stories I grew up with, but with my own dramatic spin. I don’t recall how many words or pages it wound up being, but it was at least 10 (short-ish) chapters — definitely my most “serious” work up to that point. I enjoyed the process so much, I wrote a second mystery story, based on the lives of those same young characters.

Then, in 1994, inspiration struck, and I dreamed or somehow envisioned the opening chapter of what is now “Pursuit of Truth (The Kesher Chronicles #1).” That haunting scene stuck with me throughout the days following, and I rapidly built an adventure-mystery around it. Once I completed that first book, I knew there had to be a sequel.

And as I worked on the second book, I knew there was more to tell. I envisioned for a long time that Janice’s story would be a trilogy…. But now, as I’ve matured and really seen the vastness of this fictional Universe, I realize there will likely be at least couple more book in the series. All the more fun!! 🙂

But, thinking back on just the past 2 or 3 years, I realize how close I came to completely giving up on my dreams of seeing this massive story become a reality, and it makes me shudder.

My upbringing was a difficult one. Without going into too many details, my situation caused me to continually question my worth and my sanity. It’s an understatement to say that writing my stories and composing my music (I was composing AND writing stories all through my teens, both at once!) created a necessary outlet for me. But, when I was ridiculed by members of my family for taking either creative passion so seriously, I was crushed. I thenceforth composed and wrote in secret, sharing my creative work with only my closest friends.

You see, just because I’m told not to create, it doesn’t mean I can stop…

Once I started college and going off on several music performance tours, I got up the courage to share my music composing with a wider audience, eventually obtaining my master’s degree in the subject. To this day, it is a regular and huge part of my life.

But for years, my fictional, adventure-scifi tale remained on the back-burner. For literally twenty years, books 1 and 2 of the saga remained very close to complete, and I had two or three solid drafts of book 3 sitting on my computer. So it’s not like I ever stopped working on them. I continued to write and work out the story on the off-seasons of my music career. And, I still turned my story ideas in my head, even when I wasn’t working writing; this Universe and its characters were a very real, ongoing part of my imagination. I couldn’t bear to be without them.

There came a point in my life, however, when I hit such despair and wondered if my work would ever be worth it. I had indeed shopped around my best version of Book 1 to several publishers, and not a one took it on. I had received nothing but criticism for these books throughout my entire life, except for the handful of friends willing to read my early pdf versions. I clung to their words of encouragement and my love for telling these stories.

Finally in 2014, I believe, I confessed my inner turmoil to a therapist I was seeing at the time: that I had this immense story to tell that reflected my own growth and yearnings over a couple of decades of life, and I had already poured so much work into it… but I was deathly afraid of actually publishing this work and sharing it with a wider audience. Therefore, I carried this deep despair with me into everything I did — a sense that nothing I did was ever going to be worth the effort.

And my therapist gave me some precious advice: Just self-publish it, for you. She said, in effect, “You have a story to tell. This was a part of your emotional outlet growing up. Some people will resonate with your work and find meaning in it.”

It’s for those people, and for myself, that I write and share this Kesher Chronicles saga and compose my music. I still occasionally worry if anything I do will ever really matter. But, I suppose the greater point is, I can’t NOT write or compose.

I have since received such AMAZING support for my books, since releasing #1 and then, just recently, releasing #2 this year. It’s meant so much to me to be able to see this through and gain many more new friends in the process.

I have to create. It’s just who I am. May we all be bold enough to embrace all that we know we are.

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