I don’t know exactly when it started. There wasn’t a sudden switch that turned on or a moment when the lightning struck. It probably happened gradually.
I’m talking about my love for science-fiction.
I do remember living in a small mountain town long before cable television distracted every home. Our programming selection was minimal, and my dad oftentimes had control of what we watched. When he found Star Trek on one of those stations, we never ventured far. I hated it at the time, but those moments in our family room, curled up on our old yellow couch next to the wood stove as we watched Captain James T. Kirk lead the magnificent crew of the Enterprise will never be forgotten.
By the time Star Trek: The Next Generation came about, I had started to develop an interest. I’d seen the Star Wars movies in the theater. Having an older brother and a younger brother pretty much ensured my nerd-dom. But I boarded the new Enterprise with Captain Picard and Commander Riker and loved every moment of it. It’s actually what prompted my writing. A couple of friends and I would write stories for each other in the Star Trek universe. It was an even greater escape than just watching Gene Roddenberry’s masterpiece on the box in the living room.
While my love of sci-fi never really died, it did get shoved off to the side during high school. My other love, musical theatre, became my passion and started me down the career path. I was going to be a stage manager on Broadway. My world was full of fresnels, fly systems, sound boards, prompt scripts, and fabulous costumes. Escape in a different form. This time, I was helping to create magic on stage to invite others to join in.
I didn’t quite make it to Broadway. After I graduated, I took a job at Disneyland. Ever avoiding this crazy world, I stayed in the Magic Kingdom for close to three years. While I was there, the hype over the new Star Wars trilogy began. Episode One was on its way, and I rediscovered the original trilogy. I also ventured into online role playing games, immersing myself completely in a new universe. By the time Attack of the Clones released, I swore I would name my firstborn Anakin and my car’s license plate read “JEDIKNT.”
It had begun.
In the following years, my nerd-dom grew. I discovered the re-imagining of Battlestar Galactica, Firefly, and many other amazing tales of other worlds. I even slipped back into writing.
I met the love of my life and married him. (Even though he's not a sci-fi fan!) This came with a slew of changes—leaving my job and career, moving across country, and becoming a mom. I needed to find my identity before I lost myself completely in the whirlwind of change.
Writing grounded me. I pulled out my characters from my RPG days and created a new universe. I listened carefully to the internal whispers of my characters as they related their stories. As I typed them into that first document, I was all-powerful. The mighty author with a New York Times bestseller breakout novel.
It was terrible.
I knew nothing about writing other than what I had learned in my grade school English classes. But I sent off my final draft, expecting all kinds of offers from agents and publishers alike. I was stunned to receive my first rejection. Were these people crazy?
I stumbled on a site with tips for writers, and my eyes were opened. Greatly humbled, I placed that first novel aside and started to work on another story. It took far greater discipline to remember the “rules” about point of view and showing versus telling, but the final product shined with the effort. No, it wasn’t perfect, but it was something I was proud of. And it spurred me on to write more. To keep creating. To keep trying.
I never would have pegged myself as a writer. It wasn’t something I set out to do. It’s a passion I uncovered in the midst of depression and turmoil. But I am so thankful for this beautiful art form. It’s binding, uplifting, and satisfying. It’s terrible and wonderful at the same time.
My advice for aspiring authors? Keep going. As Captain Taggert says in the historical documentary film Galaxy Quest, “Never give up. Never surrender.” Be willing to learn. Get involved in a writers’ group. Do all you can to improve your craft every day. And remember—the world is full of amazing tales, but it still needs your story. Go for it.
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3