By Mark W. Danielson
I just returned from another wonderful Men of Mystery event. For authors and attendees, this Irvine, California event is always fun, and as a general rule, is the only author event I attend. Here, two keynote speakers and nearly fifty mystery authors enjoy lunch with hundreds of avid mystery readers. Over the years, I have listened to many wonderful keynote speakers, but this year’s William Kent Krueger was particularly delightful. Perhaps it was because he and I share the same beliefs that writing should be fun, that it is nothing more than storytelling, that the motivation for writing should come from the joy of it, not for financial gain. And should financial success come your way, then congratulations, but don’t forget why you started writing. Kent is a very approachable and equally likeable gentleman whose genuine smile and easy manner certainly add to his success.
But not every author shares Kent’s jocular demeanor. Some want you to believe only a select few can create interesting stories. Honestly, anyone willing to put in long solitary hours and subject themselves to harsh criticism CAN write. But regardless of how much effort one puts in, professional writing does not come easy in this constantly evolving marketplace. While vampires may currently be in vogue, ten years from now these stories may not be marketable. If you want to be published, know the market before you begin the first chapter.
With my Gypsy lifestyle, flying to California to take part in Men of Mystery can be challenging, but it is worthwhile because I enjoy meeting people like Kent and reuniting friendships, and you can't put a price on that. Authors like Kent reaffirm that men (and women) authors who have achieved financial success and commercial notoriety still enjoy writing as much as they did when they first started. And while they take their craft seriously, they don’t view themselves that way. Folks, writing fiction isn’t rocket science, it’s just words, so keep your writing accomplishments in perspective and enjoy the ride. Doing so will ensure your characters have hearts as big as your own.