Lots of people have been asking me, "So what made you decide to write a book?" Turns out, the reason why they're so curious is that the world is full of fledgling writers. "How'd you know you had something important enough to write a whole book?" Yeah, why does an old carpenter decide to sit down and write a novel? Most of us are unsure if we have an original thought, or idea worth writing about. We all can't be Suzanne Collins and write "The Hunger Games."
Before I began, I felt strongly that if I was going to write a book, I'd be careful about the ideas I set down on paper. Even if you're writing fiction, an author has a responsibility for their words and ideas. I wouldn't want something that I've written to be misinterpreted and have unintended consequences. Ideas are powerful things. Right? Maybe it's just me, but I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if I wrote about a bird call that signaled a violent revolution, and war. Look, I'm not taking a shot at anyone. (At least not until I hear that secret whistle.)
Yes, I understand that bad people do bad things and it's up to us good people to do something about it. Who didn't love Gary Cooper in, High Noon. Katniss really can kick-butt with her bow. Most of us grew up with the idea of "might for right" even before we knew how to read. We learned that Camelot isn't possible without the Knights of the Round Table. Julius Caesar wouldn't have made headlines back in the day day by sitting down to tea with his enemies. Or, maybe he would have? Gandhi did pretty well. He won the Nobel Peace prize five times, and also manage to liberate his country through civil disobedience. Martin Luther King Jr. and more recently, Nelson Mandela have proven that positive change can be brought about through nonviolent struggle. If raising an army to fight an army is the only choice we have as humans, you have to admit that does seem a bit limited.
So, what's this got to do with the price of tea in China? Well… everything, as it turns out. I came across an article about a rare tea auction where an ounce of tea sold for ten times the price of an ounce of gold. How's that possible? I was shocked. Truth is stranger than fiction. Tea more valuable than gold? You can't make that up. Bad people will do bad things to get a hold of that tea. I was off and running, armed with secret-special knowledge that I didn't know enough to know any better. A mere eight years later, I published an award winning novel. If I can do it ––you can do it. You need help along the way. It's not something you can do all on your own. I can honestly say that if you really want to write a book, you can.