My thoughts on becoming an author

“You should write a book.” Somebody said that to me. …maybe once… While walking the Camino three book ideas did occur to me. The first one was a collaborative effort with June as we were passing the time walking. The other two just appeared in my troubled mind. I’m trusting you, my loyal readers, not to steal any of these ideas.

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Book 1. June and I talked about a mystery novel about a man walking the Camino who has been accused of killing his wife. She died under somewhat mysterious circumstances and was found after he had started his walk. The authorities are trying to track him down. At first he doesn’t know that he is a suspect. Gradually through a series of conversations with other peregrinos he realizes that he is being pursued. There are many ways to travel the Camino and sometimes using the different routes, different places to stay, and other side trips he slips by those on his trail. At other times some of the peregrinos, having heard his story, act to provide misinformation to those following him or to help him evade those others. As we walked we added more and more detail and thought about all of the country side, albergues, sights, meals, and people that could be included in the tale. Later I let my mind drift farther and wondered if maybe he wasn’t an ordinary peregrino, but was a secret agent. Perhaps his wife’s murder was done to frame or expose him. Perhaps there are people from both sides trying to find him to aid him or silence him. Perhaps it is difficult to tell which people are which. Then at the end of the pilgrimage I have him in the cathedral at Santiago at the pilgrim’s mass and as he leaves… But that would be a spoiler. June thought I was a little over the top adding the spy part. We both think it needs a lot of work so don’t look for this book soon.

Book 2. This book seemed pretty obvious to me. The farther we walked the looser I noticed my clothes were becoming. This pilgrimage appeared to be a great way to become more fit. So I was thinking of a book titled something like, The Santiago Weight-loss Method; How to lose weight and avoid bariatric surgery in just 36 days while on the spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago by Douglas J.Hiza, MD. I would say things like a person could lose up to 50 pounds through this activity. I only lost about 10 pounds but that is still “up to” and I didn’t say that one would lose that much. I would leave out the part about chips and beer at the end of the day. I would advise not having the Pilgrim’s Menu every evening as there is way too much food in those. I think this would be a great seller as people are always looking for a lose-weight-quick-method. It doesn’t matter if it really works or not. After all, most diet or weight loss books don’t work over the long haul and they still sell like hotcakes. The fact that it would be authored by a medical doctor would add some credibility. (Think about that the next time you buy a book authored by a medical doctor. Completely factual just because of the degree?) I think I could make this into a best seller and make a lot of money allowing me to retire…wait, I am retired. Well it would allow me to be more retired and more is always better, right? I would have to lose some weight for the jacket picture and for the book tour but I bet I can find a good book on how to do that quickly. This book also needs some more work.

Book 3. As I blogged I started using the theme “Are we there yet?” as a way to connect my readers with their experiences on road trips, both as children passengers and later as adult drivers. I’m pretty sure I heard my parents say most of the “suggestions” that I placed at the end of each of those blog postings and I’m sure that June or I have “suggested” those things to our children on our trips. I got to thinking about the advice given, how universal it was, and how it contains a lot of wisdom about what is needed in life. To help you review without going back and reading all those postings (but feel free to do so if you wish), I’ll list them here.

  • Just settle down.
  • Maybe you could try reading your books for awhile.
  • You share back there.
  • Listen to some music and maybe sing along.
  • Let’s not use that kind of language with each other.
  • Don’t fight!
  • Why don’t you think of the stories you can tell of what you have seen, the things you have learned from the people you have met, and what you have learned from the journey when you are together over the table.
  • So remember, it is not what you achieve but the journey that counts.

It all seems like pretty good advice and if expanded would make a good book on living well with ones’ neighbors. It brought to mind the guy who wrote the book and then someone wrote a popular song about it and there were posters and other paraphernalia associated with it and I’m sure he became very rich… You know, All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum. Well, my concept is similar. I think the advice that my book would offer would differ from Fulghum’s in that it is more primitive. It begins before kindergarten when preschool children travel in the back of a car. It has a longer history in that I can see ox drawn carts with parents turning and saying variations of those words to the children in the hay in the bed of the cart. I was thinking of trying to play off Fulghum’s title to sort of catch the wave of the purchasing public’s attention. I was thinking of something along the lines of All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In The Back Seat Of A Car. But then I began to worry, a little, that perhaps my potential readership would misunderstand the message that I intended to convey in the book thinking instead of other experiences they had in the back seat of cars. To make matters worse, an unscrupulous publisher could put some sort of jacket art on the cover that would foster the notion that what was contained inside…well, might not be for family reading and that would entirely miss my lofty intentions. But then again, if that mistaken notion was made by the reading public…well, those books tend to sell well, too. I don’t know. I think this one needs more thinking and work, too. And, perhaps, a different title.

But, hey, I have a following of readers here that I can turn to for advice. Which of the books should I start on first?

  1.  The Camino mystery – as yet untitled.
  2.  The Santiago Weight-loss Method; How to lose weight and avoid bariatric surgery in just 36 days while on the spiritual pilgrimage to Santiago by Douglas J.Hiza, MD
  3. All I Really Needed To Know I Learned In The Back Seat Of A Car.
  4.  None of the above. Just give it up!

Let me know your vote in the comments below. If I publish I will take all the names of those who voted for that book, put them in a box and draw out a name for a free autographed copy.

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8 thoughts on “My thoughts on becoming an author

  1. Well, they are all intriguing but I think you should seriously consider becoming a professional blogger – I, for one, would pay good money to wake up every day and begin my day with such a wonderful source of laughter!! (Just yesterday John commented that he missed your blogs so you’d probably have two paid subscribers right off the bat!!)

  2. I think you should put the names of ALL the folks who leave comments into a box .. and send EACH of them an autographed copy! Love your posts, Doug. Thanks for the cheer. Oh, I almost forgot, “D. J. Hiza, MD” sounds more ‘mysterious’ :o)

  3. PersonallyI think my favorite would be the mystery, however Doug, I think you have great potential with all of them. How will you havbe time in Italy to study if you pursue all these writings?

  4. Love it!! I personally know a great author and his wife!! The mystery will be my first read…… who knows though, maybe it is the male that is murdered somewhere on the journey and his wife was only thought to be dead………….she’s found to be living a great life in Italy!!! 🙂

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