I’ve often been asked, “Why do you write?”
And my first thought is, “Why do I breathe?”
Each seems as natural to me as the other.
As long as I can remember, I have been writing with a goal of becoming a bestselling author. When I was a child, my father asked me the age-old question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Naturally, my response was, “A fiction author.”
My dad, the son of Italian immigrants, smiled and said, “Well, you can do that but you also have to put food on the table one day.”
As an elementary school student, I would come home from book fair day with an armload of mysteries that I would immediately begin to devour. I soon became intrigued by the fact that some authors held my attention and others did not. That notion led me to studying the craft of writing by reading books such as Stephen’s King’s Danse Macabre and On Writing. Knowing that writing requires production, I began to, well, write.
I can remember that after lights out when I was a cadet at West Point, I would have the flashlight under the covers as I wrote in spiral bound notebooks some of the very first characters of the Threat Series. I still have those notebooks today. Writing has always been a passion for me and as I put the finishing touches on my tenth novel this week, I reflect on the personal satisfaction of walking into a bookstore and seeing one of my novels on the bestsellers rack. There is sense of accomplishment in finishing every book, going through the editorial process with the amazing team at Kensington Books, seeing the advanced readers copy, and then having the finished product delivered to stores.
I also came to realize that writing, like any artistic process, is a method for me to channel emotions and thoughts. Whether coping with the loss of a soldier in combat or a family member back home, celebrating a personal accomplishment, or simply reflecting on a challenging time, writing has always given me an additional outlet to express myself.
In the end, though, writing is chiefly for the entertainment of others and I keep that front and center as I create unique plots and develop rich characters. Writing is a business and as an author you enter into a contract with readers that you will take them into a world, keep them there, and deliver a satisfying conclusion.
I write because it is something that I have always done. Balancing the art and science of creativity requires discipline, talent, and, yes, luck. Realizing my dream of becoming a bestselling novelist is something that is deeply satisfying to me. I hope my audience enjoys reading the books as much as I enjoy writing them.
Brigadier General Anthony J. Tata is the national bestselling author of the popular Jake Mahegan thriller series from Kensington Books. His new novel, Direct Fire, is available for preorder now and will be delivered to bookstores everywhere December 7, 2017. You can visit him at his website: www.ajtata.com