Where to begin with this? I suppose I should explain that my muse was originally an eight year old girl. Or maybe she was nine at the time. It’s been so long since I first started Werewolves of the Dead that I don’t even remember when I began the manuscript. I do remember it started with Sarah saying, “You should do a book on zombie werewolves. It shall be called (pause for dramatic effect) Werewolves of the Dead. Now here’s what should happen…” She’s talked like that for years now. I blame the spate of infomercials she used to watch one after another. She would end every other sentence with, “But wait, there’s more.” God bless you, Sarah Kathleen.
Sarah was the one who came up with that and the twist in “The Ripper’s Doll”. She’s bloody brilliant for a tweenager, or just out of her gourd like her father. And mother. We’re both a little off mentally as far as parents go.
I sing my children’s praises left and right. I’m a parent that works a 40 hour a week job, comes home to cook dinner for the family, and I deal with the obstacles life has a tendency to throw at us all. And I sing the kids’ praises long and hard. To the point that I “offend” some parents over my choice of child rearing tendencies. I took my son to The Tilted Kilt because he heard the food was good and he was a twelve year-old boy with burgeoning hormones. I let Sarah watch Magic Mike because she was curious about “those hunky boys” as one female family member put. “This movie sucks,” she declared before abruptly leaving the living room. She refused to come down until “that abomination to filmmaking was destroyed and removed from this house”. She’s a very dramatic young lady when she wants to be. And Emily? Well, Emily is a HUGE fane of The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, and just about everything zombie.
My kids are diverse in their desires, hobbies, and interests. Chris is a member of the National Honor Society, and has a 3.74 unweighted GPA, and a 4.27 weighted GPA at the magnet school he attends. He volunteers at the Nashville Cat Rescue, and at The Pet Community Center. He “works” six days a week between school and his volunteer activities. He has more moral character than most adults, and his ability to hold himself at a higher standard than we, his parents, do makes him one of my heroes.
Emily wants to be a “hair stylist for dogs” and has overcome much in her fight against her phonological dyslexia. Two years ago she wasn’t even reading at a 1st grade level and she was a third grader. Now she’s almost at her fourth grade level. She’s the hardest working kid I know. She has her moments of getting frustrated with her words, but she pushes through it one her own or sometimes with us prodding her. But she doesn’t quit even when she wants to. We all struggle to be understood in life, and for Emily, it’s a constant minute to minute activity in the most literal of things we take for granted; speech. She is an inspiration to me, and to most that meet her.
And then there’s Sarah. Sarah is taking Algebra 1 in the 7th grade and is making straight A’s across the board. She wants to be a crypto zoologist. Why? There’s no money it, granted, but she wants to prove that werewolves exist. As much as I love the idea of werewolves, I’m not totally ready to buy into my own fiction. But as she said, “just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. And science is constantly discovering dinosaurs, and other life forms that they never knew existed until now.” She’s painfully smart, and when she’s not watching Markiplier on YouTube, she’s read the news sites. Not bad for a 12 year old.
My kids are constantly giving me ideas, and inspiration, to write down. I always used to say that I do this for them. Now, I think I do this because of them. And it’s because of them that I persevere as a husband, father, and writer.