Hey Y’all! I just realized I never wrote a post on my blog on how I got started as a writer. So here’s a run-down of my writing journey.
Just after 9-11, my family moved from our North Carolina home in the country to a Maryland town house. I was used to falling asleep to crickets and whippoorwills…now it was airbrakes and jets. Not pleasant sleeping. It was there that I learned what a Yankee was.
I also found out that since I was from the South, I was a Rebel…so, what was all that about? At this point, I’d never heard of the Civil War (War Between the States, War of Northern Aggression, Second War for Independence, etc.).
This does have to do with my writing journey. I’m not getting off topic ;)
When I was in 3rd grade, I studied important Americans, including Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and Gen. Robert E. Lee. Grant was first. Oh, he was a good man…after all, a man who treats his horses right has to be a wonderful person, right? Wrong! But I found that out later.
Robert E. Lee was my hero! I loved his story…then I found out that he and Grant had fought each other. What? These two great men fought each other? Why? Wait a minute, you mean Grant fought Lee because Lee believed in freedom just like the patriots? What was so bad about the Southern states leaving the Union…and why did they? Slavery?
I told my mom “I just can’t see a mother sending her son off to war just because she wants to have people working for her.” So the search began, and we found it wasn’t at all like what we’d been told. Slavery? Nope. The issue was States’ Rights for the South; Power, Land and Money for the North.
Now to the writing part.
I wrote my first “story” when I was six or seven. Here it is. “A long time ago, there was a Civil War. There was war, then peace, then war again.” (I didn’t understand the idea of breaking the fighting for the winter…)
I continued to study history and play around with writing. In 2010, I was complaining to my sister Gera that I wished there were decent Historical Fiction novels to read, and true accounts of the Civil War. She said, “Write your own.” I was stunned. Why hadn’t I thought of that before? I set to work. At that time, I had no intentions of publishing. This story was solely for my enjoyment.
After several failed attempts at a beginning, I figured out what I wanted. So in January of 2011, I began writing, The Land of Cotton.
During this time my mom encouraged me not to just write for fun and myself, but to give my hobby to the Lord and attempt publishing. I was scared, but I agreed. Later, the Lord used a man at the church I grew up in to bless me by buying me a laptop, printer and all the extras! My writing and typing took on new meaning then.
In December of 2011, The Land of Cotton was completed!...or so I thought. Well, I revamped my book, had Gera and others read it, corrected errors, made more changes, etc. I continued writing The Battle for Heritage Series.
I went on to finish the series in 2014, five books in all. That year I got up the courage to have mom read my first book. She liked it but knew it needed more work. We had no idea how much work it would need! More editing, eliminating, adding, proofing, reading, researching, praying, typing, long nights, cups of hot chocolate and talking went into this book. At last, we added the final polishing touches.
Off to the proofers! My grandfather, Wayne Miller, is a retired English teacher and he agreed to look over my book without grandfatherly bias and proof it for grammatical errors. So if you find something, I guess it’s his fault, lol :) At the same time, my cousin, Travis Stevens, a historical reenactor and “walking 1860’s history encyclopedia,” edited my book for historical accuracy.
Then to the printers! Hard to believe that was two years ago this month! And now, I’m multi-published! It’s been a long journey, but it’s so rewarding. And having people return and tell me how much they enjoyed my books and how much they had learned just makes my day! I’m so glad that Gera and Mom pushed me to do what I didn’t think I could and that God blessed it. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything!
Something to think about: What about you? Have you ever gotten a preconceived idea about something, only to find out you were very wrong? (Like me about Gen. Grant?) How did you respond when you found out the truth? Share your experience with others. You never know how sharing a bit of truth can change things...it might even lead to a novel!
That’s all for now,
Christian. American. Southern. Author.