From expert to author
May 29, 2011
Experts can come in all shapes and sizes, and have unexpected talents. But, we tend to think of them as being somehow distant; they are set a world apart from the day-to-day lives of ordinary citizens. We imagine that they spend their lives in labs or libraries conducting research for their next book. In truth, experts are all around us. It is not necessarily their schooling or training that makes them an expert, but their passion and love for what they do.
Many of these experts live right here in Colorado, and – though it may not have been their first intention – many of them have written books. On Friday, eight experts-turned-authors will gather at The Bookworm for an evening to showcase their work. The Bookworm’s second Local Author Showcase features writers from all over Colorado who have one thing in common: the drive to share their passion.
On the job training
For many of the authors participating in Friday’s event, a life spent on the job is the best training. Kurt Mulson spent 30 years as a police officer for the town of Vail, gathering stories that would later be compiled in his book, “Cops Are Human Too.”
“I believe that I was a better writer when I retired because I had matured personally and had many more experiences to draw from,” Mulson said.
Gerald Blaine, author of “The Kennedy Detail,” turned his life experience as secret service agent on the White House Detail into a first hand account in print. His goal in writing the book: “to set the record straight regarding President Kennedy’s assassination and correct history, which has been maligned by theories ranging from the ridiculous to the criminal.”
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Blaine’s personal experience gives him the expertise to tell a true story.
Mark Seal’s expertise happens to be writing. As a veteran journalist Seal has sharpened his skills writing for numerous newspapers and magazines. Now as contributing editor to Vanity Fair he continues to hone his talent following leads like the one that became his latest book, “The Man in the Rockefeller Suit.”
“I have been lucky to have worked as a reporter since my senior year of college, 1975, and a series of newspaper and magazine jobs – from night police beat to magazine writing – has helped me learn how to recognize a good story,” Seal said. “But the hard work of reporting and editing never get easier.”
It is the years of preparation, thinking, planning that can make for a great book. Jerry Funk knew he loved writing early on, but it wasn’t until taking on the challenge of climbing a 14er that his passion turned to words on a page. A lot can change for a writer in 27 years.
“Computers hardly existed back when I was in college, and all my writing and thinking, scribbling and rearranging had been done in cursive,” Funk said. “Typing on a computer, and learning to ‘think in the writers mood or mode’ at the same time, was a monumental change.”
The implements and tools of an expert turned writer may change through the years, but the impetus almost always remains the same: Challenge.
“We all confront turning points at different stages in our lives. Mountains emerge on the horizon and beckon us to climb them,” said Carol Deckard, author of “Mountains of Inspiration,” a collection of inspirational thoughts and meditations accented byJohn Fielder’s photos. “Writing ‘Mountains of Inspiration’ helped me to remain positive during a challenging time and I wanted to inspire others who are climbing mountains in their own lives.”
Experience, training, study, time are all important in making a life’s work come through in the written word. Each of the authors appearing at The Bookworm on Friday has developed these aspects to create books that are thoughtful and engaging. And they could not have done it without an overall passion for their subject.
Besse Lynch works at The Bookworm of Edwards. Email comments about this story to firstname.lastname@example.org.