For some people, the arts are serious business. There’s tradition and technique, dues that must be paid and even–if Faust is more than a simple cautionary tale–souls to be won or lost. Today’s guest sent this post with the title “Of Latex Ears and Elfmobiles.” Nathan Lowell Presents…
C. S. Marks
So, Nathan tells me he wants a series of guest posts from authors, but that he wants them to line up like acts from the ‘Ed Sullivan’ show. They should not be advertisements, but amusing and entertaining. I foolishly volunteered before realizing that I’d actually have to be entertaining, and I am old enough to remember the Ed Sullivan show. Yes, friends, you are reading a post from a ‘living fossil’.
The question Nathan put to us is: ‘Why do you write?’ Well, the exact truth, in my case, would be far from entertaining. I have always enjoyed telling stories (and even writing them down), but I didn’t get ‘serious’ about it until my Dad passed away suddenly (he was a professor of literature by trade, and he taught me to love the classics. I learned my respect for and love of words from him). See? That’s not very entertaining.
There was always room for a good comedian on the Ed Sullivan show, but since most folks don’t consider a long string of horrible puns entertaining, I’ll not attempt that. However, there are some aspects of my journey as an author that might prove intriguing. I published the first novel in the Elfhunter trilogy in late 2005. I resisted the e-book revolution until 2009. Since then I have sold somewhere north of 35,000 copies spread over three titles, have garnered a couple of minor awards and over 200 reviews, and am currently negotiating a three book deal with a traditional publisher. My books are being converted to comic book and graphic novel format, and a role-playing game is in the works (complete with miniature figures). Is that why I write? Well…sort of. But I didn’t expect any of those things to happen.
I write for fans like the fourteen-year-old girl who sent me her video of the ‘battle in the barrens’ enacted with ‘Legos’. I write for the young Korean boy who brought his battered, torn copies to the bookstore for me to sign. His father informed me that his son had read them a dozen times each. I write for the teenaged girl who informed me that she needed copies of all three because her boyfriend, whose books I had just signed, would no longer allow her to borrow them. I write to share.
I write for my own enjoyment; in fact, I would state that escaping to Alterra is among my favorite activities. It’s relaxing, stimulating, cathartic…all the things writers talk about. But I also write for all the smart, nerdy kids (and adults) who love the story. I write to inspire, to entertain, to evoke emotion, to provoke thought.
I write so that I have an excuse to wear pointy ears in public (I wear them at signings and conventions–see photo). I’ve overheard people muttering ‘plastic surgery’ and the like, but my favorite was probably the ‘Walgreen’s incident’. I was on my way to a signing on St. Paddy’s Day in full regalia, and stopped at the local pharmacy to pick up a prescription. This is a very conservative town, and the folks were nearly killing themselves trying to sneak peeks at my ears while feigning total nonchalance. Surely, some wretched minion of Satan was invading their peaceful domain! When the friendly pharmacist asked about my costume, I answered (in a rather loud voice) ‘Haven’t you seen a leprechaun before?’ I could hear sighs of relief and the word ‘leprechaun’ from all over the store.
I write so that I can drive the ‘Amazing Elfmobile’ across North America. I came up with this bright idea as ‘marketer in chief’…why not create a rolling billboard featuring my cover art? I have lost count of how many photos have been taken of (and with) that car, how many bookmarks and postcards I have handed out at drive-up windows, and how many traffic accidents have been narrowly averted because drivers are staring at the ‘Amazing Elfmobile’. Semi drivers honk and wave, readers roll down their windows and yell ‘love those books’, and some folks, who don’t know what they’re looking at but just have to comment anyway, say things like ‘awesome video game! I think it’s my fave!’ (Elfhunter is not yet a video game.)
This is all about sharing not just the story, but the ride. What good is a great ride if you take it alone?
If you’re interested in taking this journey with me, I invite you to the epic fantasy World of Alterra. You’ll find links to all three books in the trilogy from Amazon.com (Elfhunter, Fire-heart, and Ravenshade) at www.elfhunter.net.