Saturday, February 9, 2013

I'm an Author, SHHH, It's A Secret

I wrote a book. I'm a published author. But I can't share the title with you or even the subject. Here's why.

So, about 11 months ago, I was laid off. More accurately, I was unkindly and unceremoniously dumped on my ass by my former employers, may they spend eternity in a very warm heaven.

About 8 months ago, in the midst of still looking for work, I started a blog. It was a lark, not a joke, but meant more as an experiment. It was never meant to go anywhere or become anything. I was mostly writing it as a way to keep up my writing skills, have a creative outlet, and pass the time with something that wouldn't cost me money.

For the sake of explaining why I can't tell you the title or the subject matter of my book, I'm going to create a fictitious example of what my blog was all about. Let's pretend that I pretended to be a Los Angeles police officer who's name was John Smith. John Smith decides he's going to write a blog about being a cop in L.A. and all that goes along with it - the politics, the racial tensions, the brutality. But, John Smith realizes that if he puts all of this out there on the web with his name attached he'd be fired at the very least. His whole life could be turned upside down.

Instead, John Smith decides to change names and dates around so that no one can guess who he is in real life. He uses the fake name of Frank Jones. He changes around just enough information that he knows that no one will be able to trace it back to him. John Smith writes this blog because it makes him feel better to be able to vent about some of the tough things he has to deal with.

But something unexpected happens. His blog becomes popular. Not LOLcats popular, but he has regular followers, who question him, prod him, support him, chide him and encourage him. Soon, the blog has taken on its own life.

John Smith started out his blog talking about things in his past. Eventually though the events in the blog have 'caught up' to present day. John Smith decides that writing about present day events are too hard to disguise and instead sort of wraps up the blog.

Someone suggests to John Smith that his harrowing stories should be assembled into a book. That's when I, Connor, in real life, decided to compile all of these blog posts into a book.

Without intending it, I had created a complete arc for my John Smith character, starting with how and why he became a police officer, what happened to him and where he is today. As a book, it's more than 400 pages.

But...The book had to be published with John Smith's 'nom de plume', Frank Jones. Since the book is written as the events were real, to use my own name would be to undermine the very authenticity the writing strove for. Knowing the true author's name would endanger 'John Smith' and out me, Connor, as fraudulent, since I'm not a cop.

So, there you have it. It's published, I can call myself an author now and I'm very proud of the book. But I can't tell you the title, the subject matter or my nom de plume.

On the plus side, back in November, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and I got a great start on a book that I'd been wanting to write since 2004. I've gotten more than 70000 words in and I'm about 3/4 of the way through the book.

This book, a speculative fiction/fantasy book will have my name on it and I'll let you know as soon as it's available. So, Connor Alexander doesn't have a book out yet, but he's an author.

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