People who have known me a long time are asking how I got into writing. After all, my closest friends know me as a mom, or the Parent Association President at my children’s school for six years, or the Human Resources professional who worked at Paramount Pictures for ten years, or the student who studied Psychology in college. When, they all want to know, did I start writing? After all, I certainly wasn’t brooding under a tree with pen and notebook in high school, nor was I sneaking off to write stories while recruiting secretaries at Paramount. And when asked that first time, I really had to think about it.
I guess it started about seven years ago, while I still had my little one at home. I became frustrated with a TV show I’d once loved, and now loathed beyond reason, due to the bad writing and plot development. A once decent show was becoming the joke of dramatic TV, and no one was doing anything about it, so I decided to try. I began writing fan fiction. For those who aren’t familiar, fan fiction is writing/stories based on material already created, such as TV shows, movies, books, Anime, comics, etc. None of the characters belong to the fan fiction writer, and that is understood up front—the writer is using characters already created by someone else, in stories they make up, for entertainment purposes only, and not for financial gain. There are sights all over the Internet devoted to fan fiction, and many are show/movie/book-specific. I thought about the direction I, as a fan, would like to see this show go, and what I would do if I were on the writing staff. And then I wrote.
I got minimal but positive feedback from other fans, and then one day when I sat down at the computer, instead of writing about characters someone else thought up, I began the first pages of Testarossa. I knew the kind of hero I wanted, the kind of man I wanted him to be. I knew there would be a love story, and I knew that we would learn about this character through day-to-day police work and his day-to-day life, and not necessarily focus on one crime or theme. I wanted the book to be character-driven rather than plot driven. I knew no more than this.
The first draft of Testarossa is laughable—but only I get to laugh. Every other sentence ended with an exclamation point. I had too many commas and not enough paragraph breaks. I spelled ‘missus’ ‘misses’. But, oh my God, these characters jumped off the page! I loved them. And then came the night that I woke up at one a.m., got out of bed, and wrote what those who have read the book now know as ‘Chapter 15’. I cried as I wrote it, and I knew then that if I was crying, my readers would be, too, and that was what I wanted more than anything—to make the reader feel.
Many edits and rewrites later, and the Testarossa you have now is a grown-up version, a more matured version of that baby I created seven years ago. I’ve taken classes and learned where my personal deep voice lies, because if I can find my deep voice, I will find John’s. And that, my friends, is where the gold is found. My hope is that when you read the book, it will take you away for a little while; make you laugh, make you cry, make you shudder, but most of all, make you want to read it again in a year, and maybe recommend it to the people you care about.
This is my hope.