My book “Paralian” is now listed on Goodreads (publication date will be 28th of May, 2016) and I have my very own author page. Come check it out and if you are on Goodreads, why not add me as a friend there :).
Beautifully timed, a former professor of mine finished reading my manuscript and told me last night that he loved the book and couldn’t put it down. He called it a universal story about life and finding yourself.
It is… and, here we go… the adventure continues!
As a child, I never quite fit in. Reading opened up the world for me and books became my most treasured sanctuary. Writing was a natural progression and became a passion. I dabbled in short stories and poems. Then, during my high school years, I signed up for the odd writing contest.
In 1988, I won first price in a state-wide competition. I conducted a survey in my town and wrote a hundred-page study on how our school system could be re-vamped. As a result, I was invited to the parliament of Baden-Wuerttemberg along with about two dozen other teenagers and was asked to share my findings and give a speech to my fellow students. Stepping up like this in front of people was a pivotal moment in my young life, even though most of my adolescent contemporaries would rather have been someplace else judging by their slightly bored facial expressions. I wasn’t fazed and wasn’t by far as nervous as I had expected to be. Towards the end of my speech, part of my audience even looked a bit more awake.
Now, 27 years later, I find myself smiling at this memory and at my unshakeable optimism and curiosity that have stayed with me my entire life.
When my mom and I met for the first time, she was already shaped by a life that hadn’t been kind to her. Born in Germany in 1941, she began experiencing life amidst the terrifying thunder of falling bombs. Her father went missing in Stalingrad and her mother was torn apart by never learning the fate of her husband.
After the bomb shelters, my mom grew up in the ruins, stricken by fear and insecurity. Twenty years later, as a beautiful young woman with dreams of building her own family, she discovered she could’t have children of her own. In 1971, her husband and her found me at the local orphanage. They knew instantly: I was the one. I would be their beloved daughter.
When I later turned out to be a little boy, trapped in a girl’s body, my mom struggled, her dreams of braiding my hair, buying me dirndls, and giving me make-up-advice evaporating one by one…
I used to get angry at her for not understanding me, not accepting me the way I am. Now I know that I didn’t quite understand her either. She tries, every day, as much as she is able to. She fights her neuroses, paranoia and deeply ingrained insecurity. Concerning me, her adopted son, she still gets her adjectives mixed up and feels incapable of introducing me to her friends… but she loves me.
Sometimes people’s shadows are just too large, and jumping over them in one giant leap proves to be too much of an acrobatic feat to accomplish. Maybe in this case they need to bridge the darkness one tiny little hop at a time. And that’s ok. Kindness and understanding are so important. For all of us.
My very first book… curious fact is that the process of writing it has been just as much of an odyssey than my life story up until now. New, intense experiences shaped the writing process every step of the way, while an amazing number of people supported my efforts.
During the fourteen months of writing, re-writing and editing my manuscript multiple times, I asked myself often, “When do you stop? When is it good enough?” Just as in any artistic process, it will never be perfect, but after the 8th draft, I trusted my instincts – I clearly felt it and whispered to myself, “This is it Liam. This is as authentic and well-written as it’ll ever get.”
Then came the search for the perfect title – which felt almost harder than writing the entire book.
Present challenge is finding a subtitle that is just right. The cover design will come next…
Last but not least, after almost a year of looking for a publisher, I am now very close to making a final decision and beginning with the publishing process. And, guess what: surprisingly and very unexpectedly, the hardest part so far seems to be letting go of my creation, moving it from the safe confines of my laptop out there into the production- and then bookstore-universe. Like a child experiencing a roller coaster ride for the very first time, I am exhilarated and scared out of my wits all at the same time. Half of my body and mind can’t wait to get into that car, while the other half is wondering if it mightn’t be better to hold out just a little while longer…
Anything can happen. Maybe no one will be interested and I’ll crash. Maybe only a few will ever have a look and it’ll be a very unsatisfying, bumbling ride. Or, maybe more people will be interested than I could ever imagine and I’ll hold on for dear life, screaming all the way to the finish line.
Whatever happens, I hope my book will be one of those rare pieces of literature that will stay in people’s hearts and minds for a very long time.
So here we go… stepping into the car, sitting down, buckling up (or not), looking at the many double dips, double ups, drops, rolls and loops before me and… settling in for the ride – whatever it may be.