When I began writing as a hobbyist in 2010, I didn’t predict the endeavor as encore career.
I just wanted to have fun.
After all, I adored my speech-language pathologist practice: I gave for living. I’d lived a purpose-filled life long before Rick Warren made it a religion.
I often joked that I got paid to play – because I worked with toddlers unable to say much of anything intelligibly. Before you dismiss this issue as non-essential, consider the prospect of parenting a child who tantrums more than toddler-typical because he/she cannot make known simple needs like “more”, “potty”, or something more exotic like which flavor of ice cream he/she prefers. A child who cannot express his/her love.
Because one must meet another at their level in order to truly communicate and to effect change, play was required. Oh, what a job! One hundred percent problem-solving – not unlike writing.
Ah, but writing had a boon, if I didn’t like a character’s behavior, I could hit ‘delete.’
As my whimsy began to shape into a book – the story needed more conflict, my writers’ group agreed – a medical marijuana dispensary opened in the small office building where my practice thrived. Hmnn. Since my intent was to fictionalize escapades of a set of protagonists who abandoned respect for consequences – which, of course, human beings cannot avoid – several of farmer peeps began to grow and dispense. The home delivery dairy farmer’s daughter-in-law devised a plan to dig herself from deep debt with a fakery with pot-laced edibles sold with the home-delivered milk. What could go wrong?
Much as it happens, but no one was permanently hurt, as mystery writers scribe. Even the cozy versions are bad for some hapless character’s health.
Did I mention that I write humor and satire with a literary bent? I write funny, so there was no collateral damage to anything other than some people’s pride and innocence.
Except for the daughter-in-law of the farmer’s entitled only son. She dumped his dumb a** to run off with a drug dealer. She paid for those sins with a prison sentence. She’s remained incarcerated through book three of my ‘Faith, Family, Frenzy’ series, but stomped her pointy-toed stilettos demanding that her story be told. Her name is Amy, as in INFAMY, a working title for book four. Whaddayathink?
Now, there needs to be truth among the fictions, and, while Google is great, I needed validation of the details. No one would answer my knocks on the dispensary door on the floor below my second-floor office… Hmm. Other tenants shared that customers mostly lurked at night…smoking in the open atrium and then dashing to McDonalds next door.
The business was closed within weeks. Different dots were connected than the enterprise intended.
Consequences always prevail.
Interestingly, a church friend soon whispered that she and her husband had, wittingly, rented space to an up-and-comer to the grow scene back in 2012. They’d become close to the thirty-something-kid, who’d confessed that, if they had been his parents, he wouldn’t be on the path. The day I interviewed him, his gorgeous storefront was being closed. I took pages and pages of notes while he toked.
I may/may not have gotten high because I cannot say I didn’t inhale during the hour interview. I was certainly high on the thoroughness of my information source. He told me he was working on pot-paced potato chips so that people could quench the munchies simultaneous to creating them. He was intent on home delivery. Gotcha.
While I binge-watched every episode of Weeds – before binge-watching was a thing – and returned to internet research, both fell flat. But I wasn’t up to buying product that wasn’t yet legal recreationally in California, and I didn’t feel like bluffing my trusted personal physician into writing a prescription I didn’t need.
Then, a local magazine featured a collective in Laguna Woods whose Senior Citizen members grew their own in the garden plots. The leader was scientifically trained and he dispensed judiciously. He was – and is – a person with integrity, forethought, and experience. He became my first and best source. Not coincidentally, he aspired to be an author.
Thus, my first author event was at his collective’s annual meeting.
The sales were boffo.
Yours will be, too, when you find your target audience and build relationships with influencers who want you to succeed.
P.S. To recoup my reputation as a ‘nice’ person, here’s a photo of me with one of my toddler clients, in the office above the dispensary. Note the title of the book 😉 I had fun, just as I do now when I write.