Today I am featuring Sidney Frost on my blog. Sid is a member of the John 3:16 Marketing Network and is always passing along helpful information to member authors. Tomorrow and Thursday (May 23 and May 24), he will be offering his Kindle book, The Vengeance Squad, for free at Amazon. Don't miss an opportunity to enjoy his beautiful writing and be inspired.
I hope you enjoy this short interview.
How long have you been interested in writing?
I've had the writing bug since age 12 when my sister and I wrote a neighborhood magazine, complete with movie reviews. Aptitude tests showed an interest in creative writing, but my school counselors said I should think of it as a hobby since few people made a living from writing. So, I ended up majoring in computer science and wrote for fun.
My degrees are in mathematics and computer science, but early on I took correspondence classes from Writers' Digest on how to write magazine articles and short stories. I sold one short story out of many submitted and I remember what a thrill it was to see it in print. I wrote many articles for magazines and newspapers, but the pay was so little, I hated to spend much time at writing. I still have a bunch of rejection slips in my files plus hundreds of article and non-fiction book ideas. I co-authored a computer book in the 1980's called Automated Law Office Systems, but it was short lived due to the rapid changes in computers.
Tell us about writing your first novel.
I was working full time for the City of Austin, teaching part-time at Austin Community College, and singing in the Austin Lyric Opera Chorus. The latter was a paid job and we rehearsed three times a week for eight or nine months out of the year.
I had what I thought was a great idea for a novel about a bookmobile librarian, but with all my activities I knew I couldn't start it until after retirement from my full-time job with the city.
But that didn't work. I continued to teach and sing, and soon my free time was filled with volunteer work at church and at the library. When I thought about writing, I began to say it was too late. I had waited too long. I was too old. I grieved the loss, but accepted it.
Then, one Sunday morning my pastor, said something like this, "Trust God with your dreams and he will help you achieve them."
I felt as if God was talking to me about the bookmobile novel. I had this life-time dream and I had given up on it and now it was so clear to me that I could do it, with God's help.
I believe what my pastor said came from Psalm 37: 4. "Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." I'd heard this before, but it had never been clear to me that it could mean achieving dreams.
As soon as I could, I resigned from the opera chorus to give me more time to write. I took writing classes online and six years later Where Love Once Lived was published.
Did it take six years to write the book?
Yes. Even though I've read novels all my life, I had no idea how they were structured. The bookmobile story I thought was a novel, wasn't. I took Writers' Digest's advanced novel writing class four times to get feedback from the instructor and the other students. I entered contests for several years before finally winning first place in two contests and placing in two others.
Not all of the time was spent writing. Part of the time was to contact agents and publishers, attend conferences, and study marketing. One publisher expressed interest and had me delete several subplots and resubmit. It still wasn't right for them.
Another year of that period was a time I thought nothing about writing. My wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Surgery only made it worse and she was unable to get further treatment. I was with her every day and night, in and out of the hospital. She died the day before Thanksgiving in 2008. Not wanting to face Christmas, I went to a place we'd never been before, Halifax, Nova Scotia. I took my laptop with me, but never opened the book file.
I don’t remember the day I was able to write again, but I felt an urgency to publish the book because in a way it was about my wife and I was beginning to feel time was running out. She knew I had taken parts of her life and fictionalized it. She had encouraged me to write even while sitting with her in the hospital, but of course I couldn't.
This sense of urgency led me to self-publish and Where Love Once Lived came out in August 2010.
How long did it take to write your second book?
The Vengeance Squad was written and published in less than a year. The main character is a computer science professor whose fiancée is killed during a robbery. He decides to go after the killers and get revenge. Along the way, he learns to grieve.
Any other books in the works?
Book 3 has no title yet, but it is near completion. I've written the first half and the last fourth, so I know it is a great story. It is a sequel to Where Love Once Lived, but includes some of the characters from The Vengeance Squad as well.
How can the readers reach you?
|Free on Kindle May 23 and May 24|
Click here for your copy