You know how when you're a kid, you encouraged to play, to pretend, to have fun? But then that age hits when you're told to grow up. To start thinking about the future. To act your age. That time in my life hit hard and, frankly, I'm still going through it.
I live in a constant world of fantasy. I'm rarely – if ever – grounded in reality. But when I tell people that, they all give me that same look. They tilt their head to one side as one brow furrows, while the other raises just a little bit. You know the look, I''m sure you've seen it just as much as I have. It's confusion. But, the funny thing is, I want to look back at them the same way.
No one seems to get me. Well, no stable adult that is. And I prefer it that way. I can't imagine my life where all I thought about is milk, bread and butter – you know, the necessities. Don't get me wrong, I do focus on my job, my kids, my bills and every other thing a functional adult has to, but I also keep that sense of wonder with me from when I was a kid. I still believe in magic and still try to have fun.
I can remember sitting down with my brother – many times – over the years and talking about my characters. My worlds. My stories. I would show him the notes I scribbled in my notebooks and the passages I'd type on my laptop. At first, they were all disconnected. I had dozens of stories but no single theme, no common thread, no place to start.
I would use him as a sounding board to organize my thoughts and flesh out ideas. He would give me feedback on what works and what doesn't, what makes sense and what's complete nonsense. That's when I started to see, that even though my characters had different backgrounds, different cultures, different religions and lived in drastically different times, they were all from the same world. And once they were ready, I decided to write my first short story, because that's what this was all going to be – a collection of short stories.
Where would I start? Well, with the beginning of the world, of course. But as I began its creation, I also began to realize that not all stories need to be told in order. And not all stories need to tie into the rest. That's how I settled on Quint. His story felt like the most logical beginning. His felt like it was the most in need of sharing.
My short story of Quint and his journey to save some buildings just kept growing as I wrote. I passed my goal of 30,000 words. So I set a new goal: 60,000. But then that came and went as well. I didn't set another goal. I just let the words come and land where they might. If the origins of Quint had to be two books, so be it...
I was having fun. And it ended up being 98,864 words.