I don’t know if it is because I began reading around the time of the Bicentennial, but I love history. Some of my earliest memories are of going to the library and finding books about George Washington, Paul Revere and the other Founding Fathers. As I grew up, this love continued to other avenues of history. Egypt sparked a lot of my interest in ancient history. On that I blame ‘The Ten Commandments’ coming on every Easter. Whatever the reason, I have always been a History Channel junkie.
AS a result, a lot of my inspiration comes from that love of History. A warped view of history, thanks to ‘Ancient Aliens’, mind you, but history nonetheless. A by-product of those early biographies has to be when I write, I like to include something educational. Call it a literary twofer.
Learning is not something that should end just before you’re no longer in school. The purpose of school is to teach you to think. So think! By that I mean, think for yourself. Part of that thinking is deciding what you accept to believe. Learning is a big part of that. Personal beliefs in no way give you the right to step all over others, so don’t think I’m giving you license to run over people because they don’t believe like you do. Hitler and Stalin did that and see where it got them. No, I’m asking you to go into reading with an open mind. Open minds are awesome things. They enable people to change and grow.
Science Fiction is a great enabler of change. Growing up the genre did a lot to change my mind from lockdown to hey there’s a whole universe of knowledge out there. I know you’ve probably heard a lot of authors say that they feel it is part of their jobs to entertain and educate. I think that’s true. Authors write what we know. In doing that, we subliminally let who we are influence your thinking, or not-so-subliminally as the case may be. I’m sure those nuns are beating rulers against their hands about me going down this road and the path to hell it is leading me down. They were probably right, but I wouldn’t have come to that conclusion without having 35 years of learning to tell me how wrong I’d been about things. Sad thing is that’s true. Life is about being wrong and learning from our mistakes. Being right all the time doesn’t get you squat except so wrong you can’t see it til it’s too late.
Next month I turn 47. That is 47 years of touching hot stoves, sticking wet fingers in light sockets, picking the wrong friends, spending money like there’s a money tree in back yard, and never truly getting it right and in the process learning something from each one of those wrong turns. Granted sometimes it took me two or three times to figure it out, but I did get it eventually.
All of those wrong and right turns have gone into making me into the man and writer I am today. When I invite you into my books, it’s from the viewpoint of someone who has and is making the mistakes you have and are now. What I think makes my characters unique is they aren’t perfect and are flawed to within an inch of their lives, but they don’t give up. Like me, they try to overcome their shortcomings to become better people and through the course of their book I hope I can show their growth and maybe some of mine along the way.
That to me is the importance of never stopping to try to learn new things. If you’re constantly learning, you’re constantly growing. As long as you’re growing, you can’t truly die. You can only transcend to the next level. My heart tells me it’s that next level that things get really interesting and all the things we question daily holds the answers we fight to understand.
Now, that sounds like a story I can’t wait to read.