As we drove off, I took one last look at the building which had been my workplace, much like my character Tamisa looked back to her home planet Aanadya, as the Enforcement Unit spacecraft prepared to enter the Muench-Henriksen gateway.
My dad’s car did not have a gateway generator. Instead, it took us half an hour to drive to our local mall, where we bought a few bottles of craft beer (BrewDog’s 5AM Saint, just in case you were curious). We downed them all that evening, toasting my new career. It had been my last day of work at my old job, and my first evening as a self-employed writer.
The first few days were awesome. I dusted the house, dancing around like Mrs. Doubtfire. I read a lot. I wrote a bit. Then, it hit me!
The next few weeks were a bit more difficult. I woke up in the middle of the night to the most gruesome panic attacks. My first thought every morning was: “Holy s**t, what have I done!?!#@^&!”
Then I got used to it.
The most difficult thing was being a “mad scientist”. With utmost curiosity, people would ask me: “What the hell do you mean you’re a writer?” I wasn't exactly sure what to answer. Nobody really knew what I did, locked in my office all day, typing away. To tell you the truth, I wasn't sure either. I knew I was writing a novel, but no one other than me actually saw what it looked like. I couldn't very well show it to anyone until it was done, could I?
I always had this terrible fear that I would finish it and it would somehow not be a novel. Like people would look at it and say: “That’s just a bunch of words, they make no sense. That’s not a novel!” I had this image in my head of a painter who had spent the last year and a half working on his masterpiece. He would be in a small room, in front of a crowd, waiting to unveil his work. When he did, it turned out that his painting was nothing more than a stick-figure.
Everyone laughed. Some cursed. The more artistically-sensitive threw up. Why did the idiot painter draw a stick-figure? Because he didn't know how to paint, and he had no idea that he didn't know.
I was afraid that I would be the equivalent of that idiot painter, having no idea that I actually don’t know how to write a novel. My greatest fear for two years was that I would unveil a stick-figure to my audience.
On September 3rd (or 2nd, depending on the timezone) I published Mindguard.
On September 16th, I got my first review on Goodreads:
“It's a great original story. There's something for everyone in here: action, comedy, drama, thought provoking discoveries and mind-bending ideas. The characters are vivid and, whether you like them or not, you will find yourself rooting for someone one way or the other. It's a highly quotable and endlessly entertaining read.”
On September 26th, I got my first review on Amazon.com, which is very important, since I sell Mindguard exclusively on Amazon. It was a five star review that read:
“Unparalleled! Cherascu has created a futuristic world that struggles with issues we experience today (privacy and the control and dissemination of data). His characters are fully drawn and the action is fast-paced in a tomorrow that might really not be that far away.”
This morning, I woke up to see that Mindguard was featured in the daily mailing list of Scifi365.net
This is what they wrote:
“Careful, intricate plot lines reminiscent of Greg Bear combine with characters whose fates you will care about - no matter their motivation.
This is the type of novel that you might find in an independent bookstore with 'Staff Recommendation' and a hand-written review. One for all Science Fiction fans.
Book Type: Military Science Fiction, Hard Sci Fi, Galactic Empire
Similar To: Greg Bear, Robert A. Heinlein, Frederik Pohl”
You can read the whole article here. I strongly suggest you subscribe to this awesome website's ever-growing mailing list.
A few months ago I was afraid that my great unveiling will reveal a stick-figure novel. Today, I had my work compared to that of Frederik Pohl, Greg Bear and, one of my literary idols, Robert Heinlein. When I created my Goodreads author’s account a while ago, one of their default questions was
“What’s the best thing about being a writer?”
I instinctively wrote: “Simply having the opportunity to be who you always knew you were.”
Right now, I might answer something different:
“The best thing about being a writer is knowing that I've actually written a novel!”