I started writing Henchmen in around July of 2013. As long as I can remember I always told myself stories and thought they were devilishly clever. That July I was sitting on the couch. It was hot as balls in Albuquerque and I was playing Saints Row III for, like, the fourth time. Don’t get me wrong, Saints Row is awesome, but after the fourth time through I was kind of getting bored with it.
That was one of those “fuck it” moments. I’d been bandying this idea of a group of henchmen around in my head for years. I’d had several false starts with it (I should see if I’ve still got the original first chapter around here somewhere -it’s dreadful) and something clicked. I started writing and never looked back. Even after I didn’t sell a gajillion copies I just kept going. About a month after publishing the first book I finally figured out where to go with the second.
Writing started as something to do, became a hobby, and sort of spiraled out of control from here. It’s become my release in a way that gaming never could. There were times when I caught myself writing with my eyes closed; so tired I couldn’t keep my eyes open but still typing away.
Times like those always make me happy that I learned to type on an old mechanical typewriter. I was trained by a woman who had been a professional typist (read secretary) back in the day. She was a serious battle-axe. Everyone in my junior high school was terrified of her. I found that if I just paid attention and tried my best she was remarkably easy to get along with. I was never quite good enough to use the electric typewriters, though; only the really good students got to use those and I never broke 60 words per minute. Now, as a programmer, I’m probably better than I was back then, but that just means I can type semi-colons and curly braces like fiend.
Anyway, I found myself typing with my eyes closed, seeing the story unfold in my head and transferring it to the screen by touch alone because I was too damned stubborn to, you know, go to sleep.
Now I can say I’ve written two books and am working on a short-story collection, which is something I never would have guessed I’d be able to say a few years ago. I haven’t made squat for money, but I don’t think that’s why I’m doing it anyway. I’m torn between saying I keep writing because it’s a great way to while away the time and I keep writing just because I want to think someone, somewhere, is listening to what I say.
At any rate, if you’re thinking about writing a book, go for it. Just think of it as telling someone a story. You may not get famous or rich, but you might find you have a good time doing it.