Tuesday, March 18, 2014

When the dream becomes a reality

By R.J. Harlick

When was the first moment you knew you wanted to be a writer?

I’m not sure there was a definitive moment when I shouted, ‘Yes, I want to be writer.” I more or less slid into it, starting where many writers start, as a reader. I devoured books as a child, in particular mysteries beginning with Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys and eventually graduating to Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes, Raymond Chandler, Nero Wolf and the like.  Sometimes I thought it would be fun to write one of these myself.

Though I loved reading, English wasn’t my favourite subject. I found the piecemeal taking apart of a story destroyed the magical hold it had over me.  But I loved the creative writing part of English classes and would spend many an hour on class assignments making the stories that swirled around in my head come alive with words. Needless to say many had a mystery angle to them.

I continued to enjoy playing around with words in university. I excelled at making essays read as if I knew something about the topics about which I was writing, when I didn’t. Studying wasn’t one of my strengths. Perhaps this is where my penchant for creative writing started. I continued to read voraciously branching out into the world of the great authors. Though I thought it might be fun to become a writer, like Ernest Hemingway or Somerset Maugham, I didn’t treat it seriously.

This enjoyment for words continued on into my work life. I invariable preferred the writing part of my job to other aspects.  But it was business writing; letters, proposals and reports. Although I didn’t try my hand at fiction writing, I continued to harbour the dream of being ensconced somewhere bucolic penning the next great Canadian novel.

To satisfy my need to write, I started recording my time spent at my log cabin in the woods in a journal. Finally, one day after reaching a significant birthday, I decided it was time to find out if I could become the fiction writer in the bucolic setting of my dreams. The setting was easy. I was already sitting in it, the screened-in porch of my log cabin overlooking the surrounding forests. And so I set out to write what would eventually be published as my first Meg Harris mystery, Death’s Golden Whisper.

My first goal was to see if I could even write a book. Until now, none of my business writing had approached the 100,000 word length of a typical novel. The next was to determine if I could write fiction, for I quickly discovered fiction writing is a totally different animal from business writing.  As I marched along on this new adventure, scene after scene, chapter after chapter, towards the climactic end, I realized I really enjoyed doing this. I decided writing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Six books and the odd short story later here I am continuing the adventure with the next and 7th Meg Harris mystery.

If I may be allowed some BSP, the ebook versions of the first 5 books in the Meg Harris series are available at fire sale prices with all the major ebook sellers as a lead up to the May release of the latest, Silver Totem of Shame.


Meredith Cole said...

Your log cabin looks lovely, RJ! And very inspiring... Congrats on your new ebooks--and upcoming book launch.

RJ Harlick said...

Thanks, Meredith. My apologies for the delay in getting back to you, but I was off enjoying the Florida sun along with being a guest author at the Lake County Book Fest. I'm afraid I have led you astray. The photo is not of my log cabin, but was taken while I was staying on a houseboat in Haida Gwaii doing research for my upcoming book.