Today, I am a novelist.

I remember my first story. I was about 11 years-old and sitting at an electric typewriter in my parents’ basement. I had recently fallen in love with tennis and Jennifer Capriati was the wunderkind of the women’s tour. I was inspired. I wrote three pages, single-spaced; a story about a boy about my age who, against all odds, had made it to Centre Court at Wimbledon. I wrote line after line about the experience, the sun, the predominately white attire, the smell of hot dogs in the stands — admittedly, I knew nothing about English cuisine or custom at the time.

My hands got tired by the third page and the boy hadn’t even struck a single ball. I gave up, read over what I had and… threw it in the trash.

I’ve spent most of my life being a non-fiction writer – journalist, travel writer, essayist, business writer, profile writer, blogger. But there’s always been a part of me that wanted to be a novelist.

Today, I feel like I have achieved that dream.

I released a small Kindle novel for middle readers last summer-  The Red-Eyed Monster Bass – and loved every second of the experience. But it was an e-book and my first. I thought it might be a one-off.

But, today, I have released my second novel for young readers – The Backpack – in both Kindle and paperback format. Maybe it’s because it will be printed if you order it; maybe it’s because the second book proves that the first wasn’t a fluke; maybe it’s the fact that I have three more done and in varying states of preparedness for release, but for some reason, today it all feels official.

I am a novelist.

I write for middle readers because I love middle reader stories. I love that anything is possible, that the world can still be a fascinating a mysterious place. I write for this age because I have children this age. I write for this age because of that 11 year-old boy who had an instinct to sit down and tell himself a story.

This is a process, a new venture for me and surely I have and will continue to make mistakes. But today I feel a kind of accomplishment I haven’t felt in a long time – a humbling sense that only makes me want to do more of it.

I want to thank my children and my wife for helping me along the way; my niece and nephews for inspiring the characters; the amazingly talented Katie Reeder for a cover that I truly love and anyone who reads this blog for dealing with my hemming and hawing, my stumbles and struggles.

Of course I’d love it if you bought the book or The Red-Eyed Monster Bass (which I’ve also released in paperback as of this morning), but more than anything I just wanted to say how strange and good it feels to do something like this. It’s as if a long ignored itch has begun to be scratched and I can’t wait to keep going.

There are more stories to tell and I look forward to the hand cramps, the frustration and the dreaming that goes into telling them. The_Backpack_Cover2.jpg

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