How does a slightly educated forty-five year old Marine construction worker from Florida become a published writer?
Was it fate; was it luck, maybe destiny – who knows? What I do know is that if you put your mind to something and work hard at it, it can be done; it is never too late to start something new. I would not go so far as to say I was following my dream to one day be a writer; it was more like an idea that sat dormant for many years. It started for me while watching movies and reading books, many were westerns mixed in with horror and the paranormal, for me it is all about imagination. Every storyline I read or watched, I could either predict what was going to happen next or come up with something better quickly in my mind.
So one day, I sat down with my kid’s old laptop and, using my index fingers in a pecking motion, I began to put thought to digital paper and The Half-Breed Gunslinger was born. I wanted to write stories that had not been done before, so I set my western in the swamps of Florida with a character hero that was half-Indian and half-white. I actually considered that many young people of today are of mixed race and they would be able to identify with such a hero as Hunter James Dolin. Hunter is my son's name and Doolin was a family name associated with the Jesse James gang. I dropped an 'O' making it Dolin and I used James for the middle.
I would also like to mention that the cover art for several of these were drawn by my talented daughter Karlee Dawn Hart, for which I still owe monies.
There are many experts out there who suggest how a story should be created. In the case of the three book series of The Half-Breed Gunslinger, Hunter James Dolin, and (coming soon) Montgomery's Revenge, I built the story around the characters. But in the case of my published paranormal western, The Fangslinger and the Preacher, I pulled the characters from the storyline. In other words, I don’t believe it matters how a story comes to be, as long as it is a good one.
And what makes a good story? It would depend on who you ask, but I would tell you that, for me and for most young people, a good story would have characters with "character", they would be someone you can identify with, and there must be humor. I like a story with unexpected twists and turns and plenty of action, and that's what it takes to keep a young mind involved. I also tuck in a bit of history, but don't tell the younger readers. One of the hardest times I have with writing stories is keeping them moving and lengthy at the same time, but the more you do something the better you will become at whatever it might be.
I do hope that my stories grounded in the 1860’s era will help keep alive the importance of the old West to this great country of ours, for without the pioneers that risked it all to explore the wilderness we would not be where we are today. And let’s not forget the horse, one of God's greatest creations and an important part of our survival and growth during our earlier years.
As the world rapidly races into the technological future, we must not forget our past. Our history is important and we must stay grounded in our founding principles and learn from our mistakes so not to repeat them. God bless.
Bret Lee Hart
Please follow me at https://www.facebook.com/bretleehart
You can find my books at http://www.amazon.com/Bret-Lee-Hart/e/B0087OUZR4/
(Also available at iTunes, Sony Ereader Store, Diesel, and KoboBooks as well as many other online retailers)