It wasn't until I hit my 40's that I discovered my God-given talent for the written word. I'm not totally clear on how the first book came about. I wrote it in 1992. I think it was on a dare. I had been working as a General Manager in the retail automotive business, and a colleague suggested that someone should write an intelligent guide on how to buy a car and beat the dealer at his own game. It was a challenge that beckoned me, and for some reason the whole idea excited me. With pen in hand--I didn't own an early computer or word processor back then--I wrote the entire book longhand. I tackled this undertaking without an outline or even the most remote idea how this book would unfold. My approach was totally unorganized and unconventional. I just started writing, and the chapters poured out of my head. I could barely keep pace with my thoughts and ideas. For fear a fresh idea would fade to oblivion, I often had to stop writing long enough to scribble notes about a new idea that popped into my head.
I submitted this manuscript to a literary agent in New York. Less than two weeks later, she called me and told me that Penguin USA offered a $5,000 advance and that she wanted to represent me. In 1992, under the Signet name, Penguin printed this paperback book titled, How to Buy the Most Car for the Least Money, and it sold about 22,000 copies nationwide. Amazing how easy this was, or so I thought. I now decided to write a novel, cash in on it, and launch my career as a successful writer. Boy, was I in for a big surprise.
I really didn't have any compelling ideas for a novel, so I started with a very basic premise: I wanted to write a novel about twin brothers--one good and one evil. Not an original idea, but it was what my creative mind conjured up. The title came to me before I'd written a word: Divided by God. I felt the title was an ingenious play on words. The twins were divided because God had divided one egg into two. And they were divided because one was good and the other evil. Brilliant, I thought.
In spite of my efforts to market, Divided by God, it never got published. Nor did my next thriller, To Climb a Mountain. To say I felt discouraged was an understatement. I now clearly understood how difficult it was for a first-time novelist to break through the impenetrable fortress built around the world of publishing. I realized that I needed to write a truly unique novel; something that would catch the eye of an acquisition editor.
I had no preconceived notions or expectations, nor did I have an idea. But the one thing I knew for certain was that my next and potentially last novel had to be extraordinary and I had to find a way to distinguish it from other thriller novels. I did some research and discovered that the serial killer genre was very strong. But I couldn't imagine writing a serial killer novel. It was totally against my nature. And what I found even more disconcerting was knowing that my serial killer had to make Hannibal Lecter seem like a choirboy if I had any hope of getting noticed in the crowded publishing marketplace.
Well, I got lucky. As I write this bio in March of 2014, to date, Amazon Publishing has published three of my novels: They Never Die Quietly, Resuscitation, and I Do Solemnly Swear. The three books combined have sold 150,000 copies worldwide. I'm not yet hanging up there with the big guns--not even close--but for a skinny kid who nearly flunked English in high school, I think I've done pretty well.
Hypocrisy, my fourth novel was released March of 2014, and A Piece of You, novel number five, should be released in September of 2015. The moral of the story? If you have a passion for writing, don't let rejection hold you back or discourage you. Persevere and remember that rejection is a prerequisite to success. Keep those fingers poised above the keyboard and write, write, write.
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