On a related note, the Storm Chaser short story anthology is polished and finished! I'm just waiting to hear back from a couple of beta readers; then I'll check their notes, make the necessary repairs and/or emotional meltdown, and have it on the way to Whiskey Creek Press where, hopefully, it'll receive a green light.
SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
And so there I was – on television.
But perhaps I’d better start at the beginning.
Sometimes the beginning is hard to pin down. Like a butterfly in the Amazon flapping its wings and causing a hurricane, my story may have started when my parents read me a Dr. Seuss book as a kid. However, for the sake of simplicity and word count, I’m starting my story with a website.
When I was a kid a website was something to be avoided, due to my fear of spiders.
Then the internet came around. When I finally sold my novel, I started pushing it through my internet presence even though the publication date isn’t until this June. (I have an internet presence the way a minnow has a presence in the Pacific Ocean, but you gotta start somewhere.)
That resulted in an interview on the webpage Romance Writers on the Journey. I like to describe Storm Chaser as a romantic-comedy action-adventure, but you have to flip a coin and pick a main genre, and the emotional heart of this story is how two people meet and fall in love. The mayhem and destruction along the way is just gravy.
I posted a link to that interview on my social networking sites, and along the way someone sent that link to the local news media. (I’m looking at you, Bob.) The Albion New Era printed the interview, and that very afternoon I got a call from an unnamed Noble County daily newspaper (‘cause there are dozens of those) that wanted to interview me right now. Their interview went full circle, ending up on the fwdailynews website that covers several area newspapers.
A few days later the phone rang, as it will do. I always check caller ID; after all, it might be a bill collector, politician, relative, or all of the above – worse case scenario. In this case, the caller ID said “Indiana News Center”.
It had to be an interview, because TV stations don’t solicit subscriptions. I think.
The only real surprise by this point was that, in this chain of increasingly bemusing events, the radio stations got skipped. I’m waiting for your call, WAWK.
“Hello, Mark, this is Eric Olson.”
Olson is one of the anchors at Indiana’s News Center, which does regional news for three Fort Wayne affiliates: the NBC, ABC, and CW stations. He has a local connection, as he grew up in the Albion area not far from where I did – and only a few miles from Hurricane, the fictional community I invented for Storm Chaser.
Olson wanted to interview me the next morning. He wanted to work the “macho firefighter writes a romance novel” angle, and I didn’t have the heart to tell him I was voted “least macho firefighter ever” five years running.
You have to admit, “firefighter/romance novelist” isn’t a title you hear every day. Still, why not? Firefighters can be romantic. If they try hard. When they have to. Sometimes they even enjoy it, or so I surmise.
Chance Hamlin, the male protagonist of Storm Chaser, actually is a volunteer firefighter, so I’d better be able to convince people firefighters can be romantic.
As part of that, Olson wanted to film some footage of me at the fire station, and at my home.
The next morning, he wanted to do this. At my home.
I’ve spent an awfully lot of time writing recently – for all intents, I’m working two full time jobs. By the time I’ve done my column and other writing for the New Era, communicated with my publisher, planned publicity and future distribution for Storm Chaser, and worked on upcoming short stories and other fiction, I’ve put in as much time as on my full time job. How do I find that time?
I find that time by not doing anything else, that’s how.
Now, my fiancée has been cooking (I cook sometimes, but she craves cuisine that doesn’t have the word “surprise” in it) and maintaining my website, and I’m keeping up with the dishes. She’s kept the bathroom cleaned up and I’ve been scraping the top layers off the kitchen, because those two rooms just need to be watched after.
The rest of the house? Well, she’s a full time college student and I’m working full time plus two. The rest of the house? Nothin’.
I haven’t done a comprehensive cleaning since 1992. It wasn’t dirty so much as cluttered, which is to say that if it was dirty, I’d never know under all the mess.
We were about to embark on the most death-defying act of cleaning since the Marshal Plan, and possibly the most intense exercise since Mary Lou Retton thought it might be cool to try that gymnastics thing.
Next week (because brevity is the soul of someone else’s tact): the interview, or: Stark Terror.
Until then, I leave you with photos Emily took during the actual interview. If you don’t see them, my editor will probably leave out this last paragraph, which means you won’t know anything about the photos. So why are you reading this? (That’s a question many of my readers ask themselves.)
Emily's photo of me during the interview:
And of me "relaxing" as the equipment is set up: