Today the eBook version of my book, Pirate Ophelia, is finally available on Addicted Geeks! For years I wanted to publish a book, I just wasn’t sure what I wanted it to be about. I gathered up collections of scary stories my brothers and wrote, looked at stories I had yet to finish, and anything else I had on my hard drive that would tell me which direction to pursue. None of them were what I wanted, and, given my short attention span, it seemed that it would be impossible for me to ever write something long enough to be an actual book.
In my final semester as an English tutor at college, I helped a student who had to write a fairy tale for a class. She was struggling with it, and I advised her to just take something in her everyday life and put a fairy tale spin on it. The paper actually sounded fun to me—so much different than the business research, business law, and marketing projects of my classes. I felt inspired, and so I wrote a fairy tale for my college friend Emily. And then another. I soon had four tales intertwined and would use that as a learning experience to self-publish an eBook on Amazon. It wasn’t the greatest book in the world as it was rather short, but it at least was entertaining and was fun to write. The book, The Cursed Hydra, is still available on Amazon and is also available on Addicted Geeks here.
In the summer of 2016, I was going through some rough times. I had just left my job because of health issues—a job that, while sometimes drove me insane, I actually liked. I felt I had been betrayed by several people I had worked with and was basically shunned from the place for over a year. Sometimes I still feel that I am not welcome there, so I hardly ever go anymore. Most normal people moved on and realized that, in the big picture, it didn’t matter. It took me a long time to mentally recover from all the events that happened, suffering through depression, anger, nightmares, and suicidal thoughts for months after I left. I actual suffered some sort of break down on my last day there. I felt that I had been just tossed away because my body and mind could no longer handle the job. The only way I could overcome it was to express myself, and so I started to write.
Pirate Ophelia was the outcome of the job stress I had to shed in order to move on. The book is about pirates in the Caribbean during the 1700s. Almost all of the characters were inspired by real-life people, and the story mostly parallels the events that happened at my job, with extra drama thrown in to make it more exciting. The main character, Ophelia, was named by my then-best-friend, who was excited about the story and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen. Every one of the prominent characters in the book reminds me of someone I cared about at that job, including the villains. It was a way for me to vent out what was bothering me in a healthy way and helped me to pass the time until I could find another job. Even after I was employed again, I wanted to finish writing the story because it was extremely important for me. When it was finished, I could finally start to let go of the trauma, and that was exactly what I did.
The story ended up being over 80 pages on Microsoft Word and over 42,000 words—not the great American novel, but long enough to be a novella. Lacking professional proofreaders and editors and the money to hire them, I went over it myself multiple times before publishing it on Amazon as an eBook. Later I had it printed through Createspace, a company now owned by Amazon. Upon receiving my first proof, I noticed some errors, and so I edited it thoroughly one more time, fixing the eBook navigation along with formatting issues in the printed version. When the next proof arrived, it was done. I had my first published book.
When you tell people you wrote a book, they often nod their head that they hear you, but think it’s something small. Something like my first book—a little eBook and nothing more. When you hand them the printed version, they suddenly realize that this is an actual book. A book that will take a few hours to read. A book that has multiple characters and backstories, villains and tragedies, character growth and death. A book that will sit on the shelf with other books and look like a real book because that’s what it is: a real book from an author. I handed out signed copies as wedding favors to the surprise of our guests. Several didn’t know I had published a book, and the ones that did hadn’t realized it was available in print, or that it was a full novella. I don’t usually care if others are proud of me. That just never mattered to me. What matters is that I am proud that I could write a good book with my very limited attention span. I was able to focus long enough to complete it.
I never intend to be a famous author; I just like to write on occasion. Someday I hope to finish writing the sequel, but that just doesn’t flow as easily as Pirate Ophelia did. Until then, we will just have to wonder what trouble Ophelia and her friends will face next.