Howdy folks. Ken Scholes aka Trailer Boy here.
Some of you may already be familiar with me and my words. But for those of you who aren’t, I thought I’d use this first post to introduce myself. Before I do that, I want to thank Carrie and the rest of the Genreality Crew for the very kind invitation. I’m looking forward to being a part of the blog.
So, for those of you who aren’t famililar with me, here’s a quick snapshot….
I’m 42. I live in Oregon. I grew up in a trailer at the foot of Mount Rainier.
Right this second, I’m sitting in a queen sized bed. Max and Ruby is playing on the TV and my one year old identical twin daughters are sitting next to me, taking turns stealing toys from one another and/or dropping them down the crack between the wall and mattress. The toy they’re fighting over most is a tooth brush holder…you know, the kind you put your toothbrush in for traveling? Yep, fascinating stuff.
In addition to being a dad, I’m also a husband. My amazing wonder wife, Jen West Scholes, is also a writer. She mostly does nonfiction and interviews. Of course, lately, she spends most of her time twin-wrangling, too.
We both have dayjobs on top of writing and parenting.
I came to writing probably the same way that most do. I fell in love with Story when I was pretty young.
My first baptism into it was Speed Racer. And until the second grade, most of my Story fixes came through shots of television. Marine Boy, Land of the Lost, Tarzan, Batman (with Adam West), Land of the Giants, Time Tunnel, Six Million Dollar Man, UFO…these shows grabbed me and would not let me go. By first grade, I was writing down stories of my own on that gray paper with those gigantic pencils.
In second grade, I discovered reading. It was like a TV I could carry in my pocket! I climbed up into a weeping willow tree in our front yard and read Jack Williamson’s Trapped in Space followed by Lester Del Rey’s Runaway Robot. After that, there was no stopping me. I read everything I could get my hands on — science fiction, fantasy, mystery, westerns. By then, I’d also discovered comic books. A few years later, it was video games and table-top RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons.
I was a Story junky getting my fixes anywhere I could. To this day, I value all the various mediums through which Story is delivered and I still go to the same places to find it (thought sadly I’ve not rolled a 20-sided dice in far too long.)
I discovered Ray Bradbury when the Martian Chronicles became a miniseries. I ploughed through his collections and novels and when I read his essay, “How to Keep and Feed a Muse,” I knew I had to be a writer. I started submitting stories in my sophomore year of high school and thus began my rejection collection.
I took a long break from writing to do a lot of other things that have ended up landing in my fiction and then I came back to it in my late twenties. I’ve served in two branches of the military, spent time as a Baptist preacher (it’s okay — I got better), learned how to repair label guns and run non-profit organizations and earned a degree in history with my GI Bill.
When I came back to writing, I started with short stories and gradually broke in through the small press markets. In 2005, I won the Writers of the Future contest (a program I highly recommend) and in 2006, under a threat of tatertot pelting and on a dare from my best pal Jay Lake and my wife, I finally decided to write a novel.
I wrote Lamentation on a six week word-binge, writing in every gap of time I could find. Lunch breaks. The wee hours of the morning. The backseat of the car. I finished it in time to win the bet. Of course, I was completely, utterly, absolutely convinced it was crap. Becasuse first novels are supposed to be crap, typically. An opportunity to practice the craft.
But something unusual happened. Everyone seemed to love it. I landed an agent within a few months of finishing the first draft. I landed a publisher (and a five book contract for the full series) within thirteen months of sitting down to start the first draft. And in February 2009, when it came out, readers started jumping on the bandwagon letting me know through their notes, blogs and reviews that they liked what I was up to.
Today, I’m just a few months away from my third novel (Antiphon) coming out in hardcover followed shortly on its heels by my second short story collection. Canticle hits bookstores in paperback next month. I’m behind on the fourth volume, Requiem, but after eleven months of not-much-writing, I’m working again at a pretty good pace.
Yep. I’ve gone from Story junky to dealer and there’s no support group or 12-step program that can help me.
Back in my big bed some weird show with talking bugs is droning on (heh…drone…get it?) and Lizzy and Rae are still fighting over their toys. One of the toys is singing the ABC song in Spanish. Rachel is shouting at it. Lizzy is crying.
Over the next several weeks we’ll get lots of opportunities to talk about about lots of things. Writing (or…um…not writing) with wailing babies. Writing through the dark, tough times that inevitably show up. Process. Business. Genre-stuff. Chattering Head Monkeys and how to train them. Maybe even forays into Stories I’ve loved and Other Great Miscellania of Life.
But today, what I really want to know is this: What would you like me to talk about? Post your questions or blog ideas in the comment field. I’ll answer some there; I’ll answer others in future posts.
I’m looking forward to our time together.
Happy Saturday! Trailer Boy out.