His debut YA novel, Vision of Shadows, comes out in December. He's here with me today to talk about his journey as a writer and where it all began. Take it away, Vince!
People often ask me how I became an author. After all, I’m no spring chicken. As of this writing, I’m two days away from celebrating my 42nd birthday with my wife and two teenage daughters. So when did I get the writing bug?
The answer is, it’s always been there. When I was a little kid, it wasn’t enough to just tuck a blanket into the back of my shirt and run around like an idiot calling myself SuperVin. (Which isn’t to say that I didn’t do that.) I always had to have a story. A puzzle that needed to be figured out. A bad guy to battle. A cute little girl to rescue who would smile at me as I stood there with my hands on my hips, my white blankie flapping in the wind as I stood in front of the fan. Of course, the white blankie was real, but the puzzle, the bad guy and sadly the cute little girl were all imaginary.
Eventually, I decided instead of play acting my adventures as a superhero, or Captain of the Enterprise, or a Jedi Knight, I should create my own adventures and put them on paper. One of my earlier endeavors was to become a comic book writer. Alas, I can’t draw a stick figure of a stick. I did have some cool stories about aliens anointing a pudgy kid to become an intergalactic super soldier. And yes, there was always a cute girl. Often times, not just as a damsel in distress, but a fellow hero who would fight by my side.
Somewhere along the way, I realized that those things with pages called books didn’t all have to be of the school variety. They could be fun to read. But often times, I found that while I enjoyed them, why didn’t they do this, or that?
So why not write my own? I started my first book when I was in the fourth grade. Humans were living on a world where aliens ruled. We never saw them, but they told us what to do, what to think and who we could love. Some kids ran away from their home to be free and… Well, that’s about as far as I got.
In high school, short stories became my thing. I had about a dozen of them. They were read by quite a few people and I generally got good feedback. Since I was harboring delusions of being the next lead guitarist for KISS. Songs became a big part of my creative world. I even got into poetry. And not the roses are red, violets are blue kind of thing. I tried my hand at some poems that didn’t even rhyme.
I still thought about being an author back then. In fact, I wrote 2 stories that I thought of as novels. No idea what the word count was, but they were probably in the novella range. Both MS are long gone. (And nobody will miss them.) I had a list a mile long of different book ideas. My earlier influences were Steven King and Dean Koontz, so they were more of the horror variety. Romance hadn’t gotten into there yet.
Then college came. I had been told many times by my parents that making a living as a novelist was next to impossible. So I tried to find another career. My writing got put to the side. My guitar sat in a corner. I started to work with the NYC Housing Police Department in a cadet corps that would help pay for college. My plan was to turn around and become a police officer. That didn’t work out. I eventually started working as a customer service representative for a large company. Good pay, good benefits. And it let me invest in the other lifelong dream that I’ve always had. Family.
I got married and my wife and I wanted children. That part wasn’t easy and probably could be a novel right there, but I’ll just go straight to the spoilers. We have two very beautiful twin girls that I am oh so proud of.
So how did I become an author as opposed to a guy who says, I used to write? Sometimes, one dream can lead to another. One night, while bellyaching about how I had wanted to write books, my wife asked if I wanted to, what was stopping me? So with that kick in the butt, I began to write.
I had a couple of false starts. I’d start a book without a clear picture of where I wanted to take it. Then I’d hit that wall and say, “Now what?” And the story would die. (May they RIP) Then I realized I couldn’t be Steven King who doesn’t know what he’s going to write until he writes it. I outlined. Then I wrote. My kids were old enough then to understand what I was writing and were huge fans of my first full length novel about a magical world with dragons. I was worried that what I wrote wouldn’t be long enough, so I made sure to give myself a long plot. Only to discover that while a normal Young Adult novel is around 70k, mine came in at 188k. Yeah, that wasn’t going to be trimmed down easily.
So with the love and support of my family, I started over again. I had a thought. A girl with psychic abilities sees the person that she’s going to spend her life with. He’ll either be the love of her life, or the end of it. Pretty nifty, huh? And so Vision of Shadows was born, the first in a 5 part series.
Even after it was done, it took me a long time to revise it. And it’s so hard to get anyone to even look at these things. Then one day, I got an offer. It’s not with the publishing company that will now release VoS in December of 2013, but they wanted to publish my book.
My world changed that day. I got the official offer via email after I had begun my work day. I had to wait until I got home. Then I casually said I had an announcement to make. I got to tell my wife and daughters that I was going to be a published author. There was a moment of shock. My daughter Danielle gave me a hug. It was one of those perfect moments in time.
So how did I, a pudgy little boy with a white blanket become an Author for Entranced Publishing? What’s the formula? First you take a dream. Then you mix in a lot of early attempts, which teach you along the way. Sprinkle on a lot of hard work. And don’t forget the kick in the butt from the cute little girl who believes in you.
Vincent Morrone can be reached at Vinent@VincentMorrone.com or visit his web site VincentMorrone.com