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What on Earth possessed me to write books anyway?

If there's one constant piece of information I've heard since I started letting the public know I'd written books, it's that the road from unknown author is incredibly long and arduous.

So that begs the question, what am I thinking? What's wrong with me? Am I mad? Well, you're here reading my blog, so I can only assume your'e dying to know. And I'd be glad to tell you.

I've always liked being creative. Or trying to be, anyway. I tried my hand at drawing (see what I did there?), but whatever was in my head could never quite come out as anything more than an absolute nightmare on paper. I do love to sing (but only when absolutely no one can hear me). Am I any good? I'll never tell...

See the problem there is that I struggle when it comes to performing in front of others. I get overwhelmed by the prospect and shut down. It's not very conducive to being a successful...anything that involves people watching me do it.

Enter writing. The perfect creative outlet for someone who needs to express ideas but without all the public eye nonsense...don't challenge me on this. Just let me have this one okay?

The original idea for Encoded came from a dream I had, actually. Someone I knew was about to undergo a procedure. They would be put under while someone went through their memories like a photo album and cut out some experiences they wanted to forget. I remember being terrified in the dream that they were going to forget me when they woke back up. That dread stayed with me when I woke up and the haunting thoughts of that dream stayed with me for years! Until I decided to write them down.

I can't remember the number of times I started writing Encoded (I wish I'd kept some of the original drafts so I could share them now). My attempts at writing fell into an awful pattern. I'd start trying to write for a while, put the writing away, come back to it later. Having spent so long away from the writing, I would need to re-read what I'd already gotten down. And every time I did? I was horrified to see what I'd created. I hated my work every time I went through that cycle. I created some truly awful content. Enough so that I'd delete everything and stop writing for a while. Eventually the desire would come back around and I'd try again, then stop, then come back, and throw it all away in repetitious horror.

Skye was originally written as a male protagonist. He was a security guard at a museum that caught some shadows running through his security screens while he was trying to eat a sandwich. Skye's next iteration was as a middle-aged woman who was a curator at a museum. You'll note that there's no museum anywhere in my books now.

This went on for some time until circa 2012. I'd taken a promotion at a job that had me travelling. I moved my entire life to the glamorous city of Appleton, Wisconsin! I went from hotel to hotel all over the mid-west, living out of a suitcase and eating nothing but restaurant food (trust me, it gets so old).

One day, when I was supposed to start my shift at noon, I got a call on my hotel phone at 4am. Some equipment at work was broken and they needed me to go save the day. It was then that I realized this wasn't the life for me. I hoped to have a family some day and I'd be damned if I was going to work a job that would have me up and out the door at any random hour.

Now around this same time, the first Hunger Games movie was playing in theaters. Admittedly, I didn't read the books first when I went to see the movie. As I left the theater, I realized I was missing huge portions of the story. So I went to the store, grabbed a copy of the hunger games, went back to my hotel room and read the whole damn thing. Now I think the Hunger Games trilogy is a great story. I really loved the books a lot (the movies were fine I guess). But I gotta say? I did not like Katniss as a character by the time I'd finished the story. It was through that experience that I realized it had been a long time since I'd discovered a fictional character I felt myself truly rooting for, that I really connected with.

After that call at 4 in the morning, I made a decision. If I couldn't find a story with a character I cherished and loved through and through, I'd make my own.

I stopped by the store on my way home from work that night when my actual shift ended at 9pm. I grabbed a 2-liter of Coke Zero and a large carton of Whoppers. Taking them back to my hotel room, I took my pet Shih-tsu out to use the bathroom, settled into the hotel's office chair, opened my laptop, put the soda on my right, the chocolate on my left...and I wrote...and wrote...and wrote. I built all the things I'd been looking for for longer than I could remember.

It took time. I had never done something like that before. But as I kept writing, I fell in love. In love with the heroes, the villains, the story, the world, all of it. I fell in love with the process. Creating Encoded gave me a sense of fulfillment and genuine happiness nothing before it had ever been able to do, and nothing has since.

I love writing. It's not always easy. Some days it's the last thing I want to even think about. But at the end of the day, it's just the best.

Thank you for joining me in my crazy world.

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