In truth I’ve been writing in one form another, most of my life. And now at 61 years of age, that’s a fair chunk. However, I didn’t start to think about writing as a career until I was 12 years old. Headed for the 1964 Boy Scout Jamboree, I was recruited by our Scout Master to write articles for the local newspaper as Troop 28’s official “news reporter.” I wasn’t sure what would be involved, but it didn’t sound all that tough. And in the summer of 1963, my real motivation for taking the gig was the opportunity to meet the President, John F. Kennedy. Only the troop reporters would have access to the President for interview purposes. John F. Kennedy—I was thrilled at the prospect.
As history would have it, President Kennedy was assassinated later that fall. Like most of the country, I was crushed. And on a summer afternoon in 1964, sweating like a schoolgirl on prom night in Valley Forge’s heat and humidity, I met President Lyndon B. Johnson instead—a big disappointment.
WRITING AS A CAREER—WHAT WAS I THINKING?
After my short stint as a Scout reporter, writing as a career was shoved to the back of the bus. Over the years I’ve written sporadically, largely for my own entertainment, always with the dream of getting published. I’ve submitted works of fiction to countless publishers and I have the rejection letters to prove it.
However, in the fall of 2008 everything changed. With the demise of Lehman Brothers and the implosion of the U.S. economy, my commercial real estate business tanked—almost overnight. My sudden misfortune caused me to reexamine my life, both personally and professionally. And once the money was gone, I found it sorely lacking. It’s a real eye-opener, realizing you’ve spend most of your adult life slaving away for little more than money.
Staring 60 in the face, I realized I no longer had the time or burning desire to raise my commercial real estate business from the ashes. Of course in Phoenix, there were ashes everywhere and I wasn’t the only one buried in the rubble—a small consolation. Still for me, it was just the wakeup call I needed. I started by asking myself, “What do I really want to do?”
WHY WRITE A MYSTERY?
I’ve always loved music and literature. While I’d played drums semi-professionally for nearly fifteen years, it was more than 30 years ago and I wasn’t ready to start over. Yet I still love writing. From poetry to pulp fiction, storytelling is at its heart. And I love a good mystery thriller.
Needing a story to tell, I drew on recent events, looking at the world around me with new vision. A failed real estate development, in a desert city crushed by an economic apocalypse, a recent shooting at a local drive-thru—they came together as the genesis of a story idea.
My new mystery novel is now complete and with the publisher. Titled “Dark Side of Sunset Pointe – A Lance Underphal Mystery” it’s due to be released later this summer.
More on the whole “getting a mystery novel published” adventure later.