A guest post by Ramon Terrell.
To be honest, there are many things and many moments that make me love what I do and what I am. There are aspects of being an author that are great, such as the freedom to set up my own schedule, or work from any location in the world. It’s an excuse to research topics I find interesting, as well as go to the movies or play video games as an educational experience on top of entertainment.
Being an author is one of the most rewarding endeavors I have ever engaged in, and though it is hard work, just as with any profession, the rewards so far outweigh the difficult times that they are as easily forgotten as a cold once you’re healthy and running again.
But moments are something different. Unlike aspects of a profession that are a constant, moments are something that are fleeting, and often powerful. Sometimes moments can be inspirational, or enlightening, or even life-changing.
One powerful moment that I will never forget, was actually shared by an amazing fantasy author by the name of Tracy Hickman. (If you haven’t watched the video, do yourself a favor and watch it.) The story he imparted was the stuff of legend among our craft, and will leave you struggling not to shed a tear.
Now, while I don’t have a story, or moment, nearly as powerful as Tracy’s, I do have a few in my little newbie writer’s box. One such memory was the day a reader told me that my battle scenes reminded him of R A Salvatore’s. To say that I am a huge Salvatore fanboy would be the biggest understatement of the decade, so to have a reader tell me that anything of mine reminded him of my favorite author, was both humbling and, quite frankly, arm pump inducing. (I may have shouted a couple “YEAH’s!” in the privacy of my home)
Another moment that made me sit back and bask in my love of being an author was when a reader recently told me that he was a huge Terry Brooks fan, and that he really enjoyed my most recent epic fantasy novel, Unleashed. I can’t begin to describe what it feels like as a relatively new author to have someone mention your work alongside the work of the legends of your genre. And while I do not consider myself a Terry Brooks, or an R A Salvatore, that a fan would think of me in relation to them was an amazing and humbling feeling.
Of all the special moments I’ve had that make me love what I do, two come strongest to mind. First was when a reader chuckled and said she was pleasantly surprised at how strong and powerful my female characters are, and that it seemed to her that they were more powerful than the guys, without it being heavy-handed or forced.
Anyone who knows me, knows that I love powerful female characters. A well written powerful female character that uses her strengths to greatest effect is something I never get tired of, and I think this reflects in my work.
The second moment was one that touched me deeply, though she may not have realized it. It was a simply thing, a simple unconscious gesture that really made my day, and made me love being an author.
I was talking to a reader who had just purchased Revenire, the final book in the Hunter’s Moon vampire series. After I signed the book, she told me she couldn’t wait to jump into it, then she smiled and held the book to her chest and wrapped her arms around it.
You see, when we hold something to our chest in a hug-like gesture, it is us holding something close to our heart. We don’t hold things of little value close to the heart. You don’t hold a bottle or castor oil, or a pair of smelly socks to your chest and wrap your arms around them. You don’t hold a can of cola or a bag of fries (maybe some do) close to your heart. But what you do hold close to the heart is something you value.
We hold great memories and feelings close to the heart. We hold all that is positive and welcome, and joy inducing close to our hearts. So for that reader to wrap her arms around that book and hold it against her chest, close to her heart, that was a silent way of saying that she felt that book was going to give her great joy, great entertainment, and great memories. I was honored and (again) humbled, and to be frank, thought it was pretty doggone cool.
So for me, aside from constantly being humbled, (grin) moments like these, when a reader expresses their love for my work, and the subtle gestures they make when interacting with one of my books, to expressing the enjoyment and inspiration they’ve gained from them, are the things that make me love what I do, and serve as a constant reminder of how blessed I am to be able to touch people in such a profound way.
Guest Writer Bio: R. J. Terrell was instantly a lover of fantasy the day he opened R. A. Salvatore’s: The Crystal Shard. Years (and many devoured books) later he decided to put pen to paper for his first novel. After a bout with aching carpals, he decided to try the keyboard instead, and the words began to flow. When not writing, he enjoys reading, videogames, and long walks with his wife around Stanley Park in Vancouver BC.