I am new to Nathan's excellent blog and discussion forum, and am thrilled to finally be participating in this exciting community. Here's my story, in brief...
I'm an aspiring fiction author living in the Midwest and currently working in academia, and so I write a lot but want to make my fiction more of a priority and to eventually get it out there. I've published my professional work (mainly 20th century U.S. history) in scholarly journals and have book contracts for historical monographs -- so I certainly understand how to get published in the scholarly world -- though my ultimate desire is to eventually publish my novels, mainly because it's something I've always wanted to do since I finished reading J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings in sixth grade. Outside my job and writing, I'm an avid traveler, runner, and hiker, and can usually be found on the nearest trail basking in the beauty of all things wild.
A few months ago I finished my first novel -- what a strange feeling after four years of on-and-off writing! -- and am letting it breathe for a bit while I work on my query letter and push forward with my second manuscript. One of the reasons I joined this forum is that, while almost all my colleagues write to one extent or another, I have few friends who are involved in fiction and the actual literary world, and I'm really craving feedback (and am more than happy to provide it as well).
My general genre is literary fiction -- some of my most influential muses are Margaret Atwood, J.M. Coetzee, Don DeLilo, Richard Ford, Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, Erica Jong, John le Carre, Ian McEwan, Richard Russo, John Updike, and Kurt Vonnegut -- though I also have plans for an epic fantasy sometime in the near future (if I can get through all the world-building!) and perhaps an espionage thriller. Overall, though, my work is very American, focusing on the American experience in the 20th century and beyond as well as the trials and tribulations of 20- and 30-somethings. On that note, I've posted the query letter for my first novel, The Forest and the Sea, in the Queries forum, and would be ecstatic to receive some feedback.
Thanks for having me aboard, and I look forward to talking with everyone soon.
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