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Friday, February 2, 2018

My sinuous path to writing by J. S. Marlo

Many people I meet are curious to know how I became a writer, but I’m afraid the answer often disappoints them—or isn’t quite what they expect to hear.

I would love to say I obtained a degree in English literature, journalism, or creative writing (such a degree would come handy on a daily basis), then wrote and published stories. Instead, I followed a different path, a path I never dreamed would lead to writing and publishing.

As a teen, when I was bored during math class, I scribbled short stories, imagined new scripts for my favorite TV shows, or rewrote the ending of books I read, but without any writing expectations. It was pure fun. A hobby. A secret passion. I believed my path forward was lit with numbers, not words. I wanted to become an accountant, a statistician, a mathematician, or an actuary. I obtained a degree in business and finance, and for nearly twenty years, numbers ruled my world with little room for words.

 Then one summer day, I underwent a routine surgery but developed a severe infection following major complications. I spent many months in bed. To save my sanity, my husband gave me a laptop so I could interact with the outside world.

Well...I found a writing site. At first, I was a reader, then I gathered the nerve (or maybe it was the meds) to post the opening scene of a story. Next thing I knew I started getting comments about my scene, so I posted another one. Writing my daily scene gave me purpose and pleasure amid the pain. What had started as an escape became a torch at the end of a long tunnel, a flame that rekindled that secret passion buried deep inside me. In time, I healed and re-entered the world of the living, but I couldn’t ignore or re-bottle that passion I unleashed. In the following six years, I wrote and shared over two dozen stories—fun stories that served as learning tools for POV, floating body parts, show vs tell, character development...

Thanks to the encouragement I received, I started writing a special story, a story about a female scuba diver who investigates a Ford Model T sunk at the bottom of a lake, a story I kept to myself and showed to no one. After I finished it, I submitted it in a contest sponsored by a new publisher. In my wildest dreams I never imagined it would land me my first publishing contract.

Writing is a precious gift I rediscovered under difficult circumstances, and it changed my life for the better. The journey is ongoing as I write almost every day and sometimes way too late at night. So far, I’ve published eight novels, I’m midway through a ninth, and I’m geared up to start a new romance paranormal series later this year.

So, how did I become a writer? Quite literally by accident.

Thanks for joining me. Have a wonderful day!

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