Friday, September 05, 2014

Fountains of the Deep

A new / old chapter of my life is about to commence!

That may sound like a strange statement, so let me explain a bit. When I was in my 20's, I was convinced I was going to be the next great American novelist. My hugely overdeveloped sense of optimism (I was going to say "hubris") came in part from just having won a national writing award from the Evangelical Press Association. In 1981, the year I graduated from college, I won the EPA's "Best Personality Feature" of the year award for an article I wrote about mountainclimber Tobin Sorenson (a personal friend, who was killed in a fall the prior year) in Campus Crusade for Christ's "Athletes in Action" magazine.

It was the first EPA award that magazine had ever won, so they were quite excited, as was I. (If the name of the magazine sounds unfamiliar, it's because they themselves are now somewhat deceased. And "Campus Crusade for Christ" has now changed it's name to "Cru." Life goes on.)

So I graduated from college and entered my first full year of professional life with all sorts of exciting notions of glory. I spent the next five years planning, writing, and rewriting the Great American Novel, which I titled Fountains of the Deep, and then attempting to sell it to some unsuspecting publisher.

If you haven't guessed by now, I found no takers. While I received very positive feedback from some publishers, and those friends and family I asked to read my masterpiece (unbiased folks such as my wife Darlene) said they loved it, what I had to show for my effort was little other than a growing stack of very polite rejection letters (the novel "didn't quite fit the profile of what they were hoping to publish this year," but of course they wished me the best of luck). and a growing sense of wounded pride.

Eventually I relegated Fountains to a desk drawer where it gathered about 30 years' worth of dust.

Fast forward to 2014, the digital age when printed newspapers are dying left and right, and traditional book publishers are struggling. I was having an elevator conversation with a colleague at World Vision one day, earlier this year, and told him about my novel and my unsuccessful attempts to get it published.

"Do you think it's any good?" he asked.

"I'm not the most unbiased observer," I assured him, as if that was something he could have never figured out on his own. "But, as an avid fiction reader, I do think it's something I myself would really enjoy reading. If I hadn't proofread it 14 times already."

He didn't laugh. "Why don't you publish it on Amazon Kindle, then?" he suggested. "Everyone is doing that nowadays. You are a social media adept, and you could certainly market it online. Price it right and I have no doubt you would find a lot of people who were interested in reading it. If you get a few positive reviews, you're all set. Better than letting it gather dust in your drawer for another 30 years. I'm assuming you put a lot of work into it, and would like to see someone enjoying the fruits of your labor?"

Indeed I did. And that I would.

So, I took his advice to heart. I read a book (available for free on Kindle) about how to publish your book on Amazon Kindle. And it is surprisingly easy. But one thing I realized I needed to do first was get it illustrated.

Enter my niece, Lauren, who is a brilliant and talented artist, along with her husband Josh. (When I was in my 20s, I had tried to find an illustrator, But the guy I wanted to do it was Jewish, and after reading my book, he rejected me in no uncertain terms. (Apparently he disagreed with my interpretation of the Ark as a type of Christ!) And after that I kind of gave up.

I realize now that this, as with many other "death of a dream" experiences in my life, may simply be a matter of waiting for God's perfect timing. If I had found a publisher for Fountains when I was a young man, Lord knows how badly that might have gone to my head!

Anyway, why am I telling you all this in my blog? Well, for one thing, it's something I'm excited about right now, and am eager to share with you. I would also like to see if there is any enthusiasm or interest our there for what I have to offer.

So, what I plan to do with some of my upcoming blog posts is to present excerpts from various portions of Fountains of the Deep. Once the illustration is completed, and it's successfully uploaded to Amazon Kindle, I will share the link so that if you are interested in reading more, you (hopefully) won't be completely frustrated.

Enough for now. So stay tuned for the first excerpt!


Anonymous said...

Looking forward to the first excerpt.

kc bob said...

Very excited for you Larry. Looking forward to your first excerpt.