The following is a guest post by Mike Martin, author of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series. If you would like to write a guest post on my blog, please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
I sometimes get asked why I chose to be a writer. The truth is that I didn’t choose it as much as writing chose me. Having three older sisters, two of whom turned out to be teachers, gave me an early and life-long love of reading. I loved going to the library and getting my quota of books for the week. And I was fascinated and amazed by the fact that people could, would and did, write these fabulous books that filled my school bag.
I always wanted to be like them, to write a book. But of course, I hadn’t the foggiest idea how to do that, and growing up in a working-class family, the artist life did not come highly recommended. You could and would get beat up in my neighborhood for just talking about it. So I kept my writing desires to myself, but secretly starting writing small pieces that I would destroy all evidence of shortly after their creation.
When I entered the working world I gravitated towards jobs that had some element of writing to them. Mostly clerical and administrative jobs that meant routine and mundane correspondence. But I realize now that it helped me hone my craft. As my experience grew I was able to move up and around a little more and that led me into communications and all of the corporate manifestations of that, from newsletters to briefing notes. I even found work as a ghostwriter and speechwriter, did a little editing and production-side work.
But deep inside of me still lived that little boy who wanted to write a book and until I did I knew, I just knew, I would never be satisfied. So, I did. I wrote a small fiction book based on characters that had been building inside of me since my early days. And once I started writing that book, it was like a flood had been released and the words kept tumbling out in wave after wave. I couldn’t stop them if I wanted to. So that’s the first reason I write: Because I am a Writer and I have to write.
The second reason that I write is because I have stories to tell. These stories are not mine. I am simply the messenger, the carrier of the legends and stories that live inside the creative current. I am not the only one who has sat on the wharf in Grand Bank and thought about the stories in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series. But I am the only one who sat and watched and listened and then took the time to write down the stories that the fictional characters inside me were trying to tell.
That doesn’t in itself make me special or even a good writer. But it opens the door to the possibilities that are already sitting, waiting for us on the other side. I also get to tell these stories in my own, very personal and unique style that is mine alone. I get to include pieces of other people’s stories that they have told me. Stories that they heard from their parents or grandparents. Parts of history and parts of family traditions. Portions of culture and artifacts and sometimes just a great yarn!!
If you are a writer you know what I mean. But if you want to be a writer I think you also know what I am talking about. I have someone approach me at almost every public event who tells me that they have a great story, a great book that they want to write. I believe them and encourage them to let that story out. Not only will it drive you crazy trying to get out of your head, we need your story out here amongst us so that all of us can learn and grow together. That’s why I write: because my story needs to be out here in the world to learn and grow with yours.
Finally, I write, or maybe it’s I continue to write simply because there are readers. In particular, people that will take a chance on an unknown, indie writer like me and spend a few bucks to check me out. Readers that come up to you at a book signing or other event to tell you how much they enjoyed the last book or the series. Sometimes they are the big and powerful like the Member of Parliament from my hometown who called me out of the blue to tell me how much fun he was having with Sgt. Windflower. At others it’s just an ordinary bloke like the guy in Grand Bank who came up to me on the street, with his library book under his arm, to tell me how much he loved the books.
I write in the hopes that I can bring joy, a few laughs, maybe a couple of hours of escape from the dreariness of life. That’s what books have done for me and what I want to give back to the world. Let me share a phone call that I just received from a long-time reader and book reviewer. She said that people around her part of the world had been reading the Sgt. Windflower books and she had some feedback to give me. I welcome feedback, good and bad, and was expecting some combination of both. I was not expecting what she told me.
She said that three people had contacted her that had read the Sgt. Windflower books based on her reviews and recommendations. The first was a retired RCMP officer who liked the fact that the books rang true to his experience with the Force. The second was a man from a small community who connected with the small town feel and food and culture of Grand Bank where the stories are mostly set. Both of these were high compliments. But what really blew me away was the third person who contacted my friend. This person was suffering from pancreatic cancer and undergoing horrific treatments to try and repel the disease. He told my friend that the only way he could relax before the treatments was to read, and the only books that brought him any peace or reduced his anxiety were the Windflower books. Wow!!
This just reminded me again of how fortunate I am to be able to write. And that every book has the potential to not just make fame or fortune, but to actually impact another person’s life in a positive way. I think I’ll keep writing.
Read my review of Beneath the Surface, the third book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series.
Read Mike Martin’s guest post My Writing Journey… So Far
Other books in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series: