Amy Bryan of Lantana shared a number of common denominators with other college students sitting in journalism classrooms across the country. She wanted to write from the soul, from the heart.
She worked hard. She did well. She graduated and, bam! Life got in her way. The soul and the heart faded to a dim background chatter as she began writing for money to pay the bills.
“It wasn’t horrible,” Amy said. “I spent 15 years in digital marketing for the hospitality industry, and I enjoyed it tremendously.
“Then, in January 2020, I was in London for a meeting. I was furloughed from my company two months later. Travel was one of the first areas decimated by COVID, and that was me.
“I was told I’d be out for two months, but that stretched into six. Anything with a door or a drawer in my house was given a vicious cleaning, but it wasn’t long before there was nothing left to organize.
“I felt depression creeping in. Most of us don’t realize how much purpose our work provides, and I was beginning to feel a serious depletion of my value. I needed a direction.”
Amy, 46, has been with her husband Kris since she was 19. He knows her well. “Kris told me to start writing,” she explained. “Write what?” I asked. “We tossed around ideas, and at one point, we began talking about that period in the 1980s when sick people put razor blades and needles into Halloween trick or treat candy. We kept talking and the idea came together.”
It was the middle of the COVID lockdown when Amy began typing a synopsis into her computer. She also spent hundreds of hours researching details from the ‘80s. Her main characters, a brother and a sister, were born.
“The two kids go trick or treating,” Amy revealed. “Afterwards, before they’re allowed to eat any of the treats they collect, their mom takes them to the local hospital to x-ray everything, making sure there were no razor blades or other foreign objects.
“The rest of the book, named Ra-d8 by Kris, is about the adventures of the two siblings and their friends after they eat the x-rayed treats. It took me four months to write 300 pages.
“My ‘test reader” was our 11-year-old daughter Riley. Now, I admit, Riley will read anything and everything. She’s unable to resist even an instruction manual if it’s on a table next to her! I let her read it as it progressed. She’d get to a stopping point and become frustrated because she had to wait for the next chapter. I was trying to keep in mind the elements that encourage a child to continue reading.” Only a true writer can appreciate the pure exhilaration that flows from watching characters seize a life of their own! It was so exhilarating that Amy is working on the second book!
“After the book was finished, it was time for me to learn everything I could about self-publishing. Now that was a tough job and, for me, it was not fun.”
Amy stuck with it, spending another six months getting Ra-d8 into print.
“I did it for a lot less money than I was told it would take,” she said, “but I’m still in a financial hole. I have it listed on Amazon and Google, as well as on the author’s pages of Amazon and Facebook. It’s written under the pen name of Stevie Alexander.
“I’ve also done a book signing at Lantana Martial Arts, where I’ve been very active.”
Amy is back at her old job, but she’s working from home. Kris is at work and Rylie is in school. That means there is still time for Amy to breathe life back into her characters as they march into the second book. Fortunately, there is no expiration date on making dreams come true.
To find out more about Ra-d8: https://www.amazon.com/Stevie-Alexander/e/B09FQCB3KH?ref =dbs ppbkr00abau000000 https://www.amazon.com/RA-D8-Halloween-Hypothesis-Stevie-Alexander/dp/1737010402/ https://www.facebook.com/steviealexanderauthor