Escaping together – guest post from Matthew Cerra
Saturday promises to be an exceptional day in Phoenix, Arizona, as the inaugural Summer Author Event takes place at the Phoenix Center for the Arts (1202 N. 3rd Street, Phoenix 85004). More than 30 local authors will come together in one place for a lively book signing/meet-and-greet event that promises to delight book lovers of all stripes. Genres range from all manner of fiction to spiritual works, children’s books, business books, personal development books, and everything in between. Join us from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. We’ll have giveaways from the authors on the half-hour!
Today, we are thrilled to have a guest post from one of the SAE’s participating authors. MATTHEW CERRA is the author of Empires Awakening, a debut fantasy novel. If you’re in the Phoenix area, please be sure to come by on Saturday to meet Matthew, ask him any questions, and pick up a copy of his book!
Today one of the wonderful readers of my book sent me a link to an image on Facebook with a unique quote (right), that after a bit, I realized had some truth to it. In some ways, being the writer of fantasy can easily turn into a very dangerous form of balanced insanity. If some random person were walking around your town describing dragons, unicorns, and creatures of a magical nature out loud for all to hear, they would undoubtedly be committed before they hurt themselves or others.
However as an author of fantasy, I am called upon to create a fantastic world that will actually lure people in with its beauty and enticing story. I must create an experience so immersive and engaging to the reader that they will want to leave reality behind for a time. I must create an experience that a reader will love and appreciate as much, if not more, than they do reality. I must also keep a firm grip on which world is real. That balancing act is exciting, and not entirely without its dangers.
I began writing when I was very young, though I am not sure when I began to compose entire stories. I know for certain I was reading as many books as I could get my hands on from an early age. I was a very early reader – before I turned four I could already read, driven to it by the book pictured at the right. As you can imagine, I had a thing for trains and railroads. Okay, I will be honest, I still have a thing for trains and railroads. If I ever become as well off as JK Rowling, I fully intend to buy my own steam engine, working, of course. It will be a Norfolk and Western Class J, for those wondering.
However, much of my reading was an escape. For much of the first 18 years of my life, things happened that created a need and a wish to get away. When I had the opportunity – which was infrequent, since I moved a great number of times – I took writing workshops and courses to help me get the insanity inside my mind out onto the page. For a time, I even participated in an email RPG. That amounted to a creative writing exercise where the first writer tags multiple people in a story thread and tries to push the story ahead, while at the same time giving those people a chance to fill in the gaps and push the story ahead in a cooperative fashion.
I think my greatest lessons from that process were both practical and social. I learned the great value in working with other creative individuals. I also think learning to let go is a very difficult process for some authors, for their words are sacred to them. My stories are my creations, my work put into the world – to have someone change that in a way I can’t predict or control is frightening! You don’t realize how attached you are until you hand something over to another and have no clue what they will make of it. It’s very hard to get used to that.
The even more important lesson I learned was how powerful words can be for us. Language is our way of bonding with others – friends, family, and love are created through language. That person you see every day on the subway or the bus may not mean as much to you as someone you have written with or talked with. Those words and the emotions behind them mean something. One of the writers I found to be an incredible blast to work with, and with whom I spent probably four years working, let me and a few close others know he had a terminal illness. I had never met the man in person; we had simply emailed and written back and forth for just a few years – but the loss of his presence and words really struck a chord with me.
Empires Awakening is the grandest story I have created yet. This is the largest world, with the most characters, and is a culmination of many different creative threads I have had dancing around inside my head for a decade. The biggest thing I want people to know see is my desire to bring them a glimpse of something wonderful. I will always take my time and craft a world or a place that strikes a reader with its beauty, its presence, and even its emotional toll.
Anyone who comes to my table at the Summer Author Event will be guaranteed an exciting and open, spoiler-free conversation. I am very friendly and want every reader to have the chance to be given a way out of reality for a short time. Hopefully, however, not for the same reasons I needed to escape. A few minutes witnessing beauty through the words put to page is something everyone could benefit from each day.
Matthew Cerra, author of Empires Awakening
Read and follow Matthew’s blog: http://zombiefear.blogspot.com
We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!
PHOENIX-AREA BOOK LOVERS: Come out to meet me and 30+ other local authors for this one-of-a-kind book lovers’ event. Several first-time authors, award-winning authors, and authors of a wide variety of genres will be on hand to sell and sign books. Genres of all sorts – from fiction to spirituality to leadership to personal finance. The first 100 attendees to register will receive goody bags! Giveaways on the half-hour. Learn more and get your complimentary ticket at SummerAuthorEvent.com.
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.