When I wrote my novel Fava (http://amzn.to/1sqss0b) in 2013, I inserted a preacher, Reverend Malcolm McKenzie, into the story. He’s an arrogant, affable, narcissistic, self-aggrandizing blowhard who gains a national audience as he spread a message of hate against Muslims. I had him preaching to a crowd of 20,000 and on TV before millions, advancing an unthinkable course of action.  At the time I was writing the book, I distinctly recall being worried that perhaps the character was too over the top. Or, if he wasn’t too much, then the adulation of him and his message by the American public was not believable. Even with this country being populated by hordes of non-thinking Reality TV-watching zombies, I thought we were too advanced as a nation for such a person to actually become a cult figure. We were too civilized to buy into this message of hate and intolerance, I believed. I thought this sub-plot might go over the line and could lose my readers. However, despite these misgivings, I kept it in the book; it made for a good story.  

As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. The character is not too over the top; if anything, he’s a toned down version of today’s reality. In fact, if people were to read Fava now without knowing that it was written three years ago (which believe it or not was even before the current Presidential race commenced), they would say that I took the easy way out, basing Rev. McKenzie on a certain presidential candidate and his followers. 

Neither are we as civilized or advanced as I once gave our country credit for being. As with Rev. McKenzie, the candidate’s message of hate and intolerance resonates with many Americans. The difference is that McKenzie’s message promotes unspeakable carnage while the candidate has not gotten there, yet. But it would not take too much of a rhetorical or logical leap to imagine the candidate eventually espousing the reverend’s message. Every time you think this candidate has gone too far, two days later he goes even further.

Now, if I were to take a page from the candidate’s book, I would self-congratulate myself for being so spot-on prescient. However, because this is the future of our country we’re talking about, instead I feel sick to my stomach that I accurately portrayed the country we are turning into.

I’ve just started to work on my fifth novel. It’s my first sequel, which in itself is a new venture for me.

If anyone out there is keeping score (Okay, nobody out there cares one way or another but let me delude myself a little bit), they may remark that I’ve only gotten one book published (Fava, which was recently published by Black Rose Writing) and one other that I self-published (Dear Dad, Amazon, 2012). This means that I have two others, waiting in the wings to be discovered.

Now, don’t get the impression that I haven’t tried very hard to get all my books discovered. Like the vast majority of writers out there, I’ve received countless rejections from agents and publishers alike (or even worse than the rejections are the ‘if you don’t hear from us assume that your work isn’t right for us’). I do sometimes ask myself the immortal questions: Why write? and Why set yourself up for disappointment after disappointment?

The answer that I keep coming back to is that I write for me. For me.

Perhaps I’d be more successful if I thought more about a target audience and tailored my books toward that audience. But that would make writing into a job. It would rob me of the quality of writing that makes it so special, so rewarding.

I write for me. Hopefully I’m not all that different from the rest of the world and what I write, what I find special, will resonate with others and be special to them as well. But if not, c’est la vie!

I’d like to know why other writers write. Are they trying to reach the masses? Certain people? Certain segments of the population?  Or do they write for themselves?