One of my first passions as a young child was drawing. I had some natural talent for it, but I chose not to pursue serious training later on. However, I soon became enamored with another form of artistic expression: writing, which in my view allowed me to create pictures that were far more complex and encompassed a broader and deeper range of ideas and emotions.
Of course, like most people, I had other interests and considerations that drove my study and career choices. My father was a Mechanical Engineer, and I was adept at Math and most sciences. I loved sports, particularly football and basketball, and while I was athletic, I wasn’t very tall or strong. I read voraciously, usually science fiction and fantasy, though history and government were interesting, too. I did very well in English, though I admit I never fell in love with most of the “great” literary works from Shakespeare and the like (except Ivanhoe, for some reason).
I almost became a lawyer. In fact, I declared Political Science as my major during my Freshman year at BYU, fully intending to attend law school. However, I took an Honors Econ 110 course from Professor James Kearl during 2nd Semester that year, and it mesmerized me. Most people—my own children included—can’t stand Economics, but I loved it. So, after my LDS missionary service to Costa Rica and Panama, I returned to BYU and changed my major to Economics. After getting my B.A. (which included a minor in PoliSci), I received an MBA and began a career in Corporate Finance, beginning with the Ford Motor Company of Dearborn, Michigan.
There are a lot of interesting things to do in Corporate Finance, and I love the people I have gotten to work with. In fact, I consider myself quite fortunate in that regard. But from the very beginning of that career, I also wanted to write. I still had an intense desire to express my ideas and emotions through stories, and I wanted those stories to be popularly recognized and, more importantly, useful.
There were many, many mornings when I arose at 4:30 am to write. I’m definitely a morning person, so this seemed to work out well. However, I learned the hard way just how difficult it is to “break into” the publishing industry in a big way. My first novel, Patriot Star, came within a hair’s breadth several times of making it out of the sci-fi slush piles and into the mainstream. That kept me motivated, of course, and so I kept writing, kept trying.
Perhaps I wasn’t persistent/insistent enough, but I finally turned to self-publishing. That didn’t bear much fruit, either, and so there was a long period of dormancy during which I didn’t do much serious writing outside of essays on various topics (and I still do a lot of those).
Historical fiction wasn’t something I had ever seriously considered until just a few years ago. But I became fascinated by the man the New Testament writers called Barabbas, about whom we know next to nothing, most of the historical records from that time having been destroyed. His story struck me as an intense microcosm of the entire human experience, and I spent a lot of brain-time imagining what his life might have been like.
His story—my version of it—started with separate scenes that I created in my head and wrote down. After finishing several of these, it felt like I was approaching critical mass for putting a full-length book together, so I started that process. My first attempt wasn’t very good, admittedly, and several publishing experts agreed. So, since I still had another successful career going, I put it aside for a while.
But the story was so compelling to me that I inevitably picked it back up, and I got more serious and determined. After major structural changes and enhancements, I enlisted some professional editing and design help. It was an intense process, but the final product sings to me, and I realize how much fun it was to explore the story of Barabbas, contemporary of Jesus and Paul, and tell it in an emotionally and spiritually powerful way.
Now, having experienced the full depth of that process, I’m keen to keep this going. In fact, my aim is to transition to writing as my primary career. I’m in a place that I can do that now, and I have lots of plans, which also include serious marketing and promotion activities. The sequel to Barabbas is already through the second draft, and I’m about to begin Draft 3. I had long ago written two-thirds of the sequel to Patriot Star, and having recently re-read it, I’m anxious to begin working on that again, too. I’ve also started planning and writing another historical fiction novel, this one on the life of the unnamed servant of Helaman, who saved the prophetic Nephite Chief Judge from assassination in about 50 BC.
I can’t say which project I’m most excited about. It’s kind of like having three children—I love them all, and I’m determined to give all of them everything they need to be inspiring and successful. I’m excited for the journey to continue.
Thank you for reading!