Many writers have fond memories of childhoods spent with noses in books and hours spent at the local library. I wasn’t like that. I was different. My affection for libraries came later in life.
I confess that I hated to read as a kid, mostly because I didn’t like the books I was supposed to be reading. The Hardy Boys and similar stories geared toward children made my teeth hurt. Fiction written for older readers was over my head. I’d rather try to tell stories of my own, draw or watch movies than read books. I suppose all of it helped me become the storyteller I am today, but it sure didn’t seem like it at the time. It just felt normal.
I began to see the power of the library in college. I came to enjoy the dedicated contemplation and hours of study spent in the stacks at Fordham’s old library. (They’ve since built a brand new one that’s nice, but has neither the charm nor the mileage of its predecessor.) The quiet solitude of the old building provided a great environment where I could study Latin, comprehend the political beliefs of Soviet Russia and plumb the depths of the theological meaning of St. John’s Book of Revelation. It was a place where I could feel my mind – and myself – actually grow for the first time.
I still returned to the Fordham library after I graduated to work on a novel I was trying to pull together. It was my first effort at creative writing, so I suppose I found comfort in returning to the same place where I had found such enlightenment only a few years before. Although the book took years to write and was never good enough to be published, the experience taught me how to write a novel - and how to not write one. Sometimes, learning the wrong way to do something is just as valuable as learning how to do it.
I used the lessons I learned on all those weekends in the library spent alone with my thoughts and with my craft to find my own voice as a storyteller. I used that discovery to keep growing and honing my skills until I actually wrote a novel that won some awards and was eventually published (PROHIBITION in 2012). A second novel soon followed and was also published in 2013 (SLOW BURN), which ultimately led to the creation of SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL and my upcoming novel A MURDER OF CROWS.
Since I graduated Fordham in 1996 and didn’t get published until 2012, it doesn’t take a math major to see how long it took for me to finally get published. That meant a lot of long days spent in libraries, often wondering whether any of my stories would ever amount to anything. Wondering if I’d ever become a published writer. But despite all of the rejection and all of the bitter disappointment that many writers experience in their careers, the self-awareness I found in the stacks of the Fordham library gave me the perseverance to keep going, to improve and to keep trying until I made it.
That’s why it’s almost fitting that one of the most memorable moments of my life came earlier this year when I was featured at an event by the East Meadow Book Club out on Long Island, NY. I was surprised to see the area they’d set aside for me was not only filled with people who had read SYMPATHY FOR THE DEVIL, but by people who had really read it. They knew the characters, the plot lines, understood why I’d written a character a certain way and appreciated how the plot was set up to involve future works. They spoke about the characters I had created as though they were real people. They had enjoyed something that I had created so much that they had taken the time to not only come out on a cold night to talk about it, but to thank me for writing it.
It was one of the best experiences of my life because, in a way, it symbolized a journey that had come full circle. A journey that had begun in a library almost twenty years before had taken a pleasant detour through one all those years later. A journey that I hope continues for several years to come.
Thank you, Terrence! Now would you like to hear about his new book, A Murder of Crows?
About A MURDER OF CROWS
For years, every intelligence agency in the world has been chasing the elusive terrorist known only as The Moroccan. But when James Hicks and his clandestine group known as the University thwart a bio-terror attack against New York City and capture The Moroccan, they find themselves in the crosshairs of their own intelligence community.
The CIA, NSA, DIA and the Mossad are still hunting for for The Moroccan and will stop at nothing to get him. Hicks must find a way to keep the other agencies at bay while he tries to break The terrorist and uncover what else he is planning.
When he ultimately surrenders information that leads to the most wanted terrorist in the world, Hicks and his team find themselves in a strange new world where allies become enemies, enemies become allies and the fate of the University - perhaps even the Western world - may hang in the balance.
Can Hicks and the University survive an onslaught from A MURDER OF CROWS?
If you would like to win a copy of A Murder of Crows, email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject heading should read "Win a Murder of Crows." Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. only, please. The giveaway will end Thursday, July 21 at 6 PM CT.