What a journey, what a ride, what an absolute life experience. My journey from a school dropout, to Police Officer, University student and now published author has been a momentous journey full of ups, downs and everything in between.
The writing was not something that came naturally for me. Although I had done assignments whilst studying my diploma, I never really gave any thought to becoming a writer. It never even entered as a thought in my mind.
When I was finally diagnosed with severe post-traumatic stress disorder, I commenced writing as a coping mechanism for the issues I was having. I started by keeping a diary of my daily battles which then progressed into writing my story.
My life leading up to writing and getting published was chaotic, to say the least. As a married father of two, my life revolved around working shift work as a police officer and spending time with my wife and children in between. Since leaving work, I have dedicated my time to recovery and my family. Writing has given me an outlet to help deal with the trauma that I have seen and in a cathartic way, it helps me process my emotions and help others at the same time.
After having an open and honest conversation with my daughter about my battle with PTSD I felt a desire to help others like me. Improving the lines of communication with my daughter helped relieve some of the pressure at home which had a positive influence on my recovery. I guess you could say that my daughter has probably been the biggest influence on my writing.
Once I finished the manuscript, I sent it to some people whose opinions I trust. They provided me with some feedback and I made some amendments. From there I researched illustrators and finally settled on Sydney based firm “the illustrators”. I gave them the brief and they delivered in spades. I sent the manuscript with illustrations off to major publishing houses here in Australia and the UK. Olympia was the first to get back to me.
The publishing experience was tough in the beginning. I literally had no idea of the depth of involvement that goes into publishing a book especially when illustrations are involved. I rather naively thought I just give someone a manuscript and the rest take care of itself. I
Initially, I found it daunting but, after some time I came to appreciate the process and enjoyed the challenges that were presented. I worked hard to get the story, illustrations and message right so it was only fair that I appreciated what the professionals required to get the book to print.
The day my parcel arrived will forever be etched in my memory. I resisted every urge to open the parcel alone and waited until my wife and kids were home from work and school. It was a very surreal feeling. Seeing all my work come together in a tangible product was simply exhilarating and ultimately very fulfilling on a personal level.