Part of my new commitment to blogging, writing and developing as a writer is to publish two posts a week. I planned to post Monday and then Thursday or Friday. As it is, there has been a lot of love for my post on Thursday as well as some questions so it seemed appropriate to post today so you all don’t have to wait for more information or worse, lose interest!!! So here is the answer to the question, “What is your book about?”
To be completely honest I didn’t even bother to think about such a question when I began writing for the first time in my tiny barracks room without a TV or even a radio at Fort Carson, CO. I was writing to pass the time. Later when I was going through several edits, rewrites and revisions, I had to nail down what the heck the story was really about. Nowadays I sort that out long before I begin writing but the first time I went a bit backwards.
The problem but also the fascinating thing was that the more I looked, the more I found that my story had real layers to it. I didn’t necessarily mean to create layers and because I wrote half at one time and half a couple of years later there were different things going on under the surface that were mostly subconscious. Here’s the thing that surprised me even after the story was published. Durbar, the Sureshot, was me. I honestly didn’t do that intentionally, but the more I looked at him and the more I wrote about his internal conflicts, the more I identified with him. Subconsciously I wrote a story with me and the central figure. But let me go through the layers one at a time.
On the surface this is an adventure story filled with fights, conflicts, bows, swords and typical male desire to be a hero. I thought that this was the story I was writing, born of my fancy for role playing with friends and adventure, this was supposed to be a simple fantasy adventure story with knights and archers. It still has these components and if you are a fan of stories like Robin Hood or Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, then it may appeal to you. I believe I wrote a solid adventure story.
Under that layer however, it is also a coming of age story. This was a surprise to me but not shocking because I, myself, was coming of age and many of the internal questions and challenges Durbar faced, I myself was facing or had just faced. I began writing the story when I was 21 years old and Durbar begins his journey when he is 19 years old. I didn’t make the decision to mirror the main character after my own age after careful consideration or anything, I simply started writing about a 19 year old boy who was becoming a man. It worked since that was basically all I knew at that point.
A layer I didn’t realize was there, even when the story was published, was that there is a layer of family issues and another layer of identity. The story brings up issues of how we view our parents and how that affects our view of ourselves. I didn’t know I was doing that at all as I was writing, but looking back I was absolutely struggling with who my parents were and what that meant for me. I was trying to find out who I was and who I wanted to be and also how others saw me. This is very much central to the story. In fact, part of the major plot arch is that Durbar is a simple woodsman until a prince finds him and decides his bow skill is phenomenal but since he failed to ask Durbar what his name is he begins to refer to him as “Sureshot.” This Sureshot identity takes on a life of its own and Durbar is forced to either reject it or accept it. In many ways, I was was wrestling with identities that were created for me. Soldier was one, son another, husband, father, all of these came with preconceived expectations and I was sorting them out. I had no idea however that I was using my writing to process through external identities.
What is the Sureshot about? To sum it up succinctly, The Sureshot is an adventure story in which a young man comes of age and wrestles with his identity both internally and publicly. The story has some suspense, some intrigue, some drama and some lightheartedness. It is a solid story and I hope you enjoy it. I literally put my heart into it. Ok, figuratively. Cheers.