Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Monday, October 29, 2012

Tip O'Day #407 - Settings

Guest blogger Jack Sakalauskas says he’s “not too old for dreams to come true.”

I was born and brought up on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. My best earliest memories were going to the library each Saturday morning to get my books for the week. Pirates, boy detectives - it didn't matter, as long as I could visit someone else's world.

At this time, I did fantasize about being a writer. I wanted to write cowboy stories. For me, the perfect job would be to live in Arizona and write westerns. Well, at least I've gotten to visit Arizona. My career was the military and James Michener one of my favourite authors.

My reading took a sudden halt in 1972 when my daughter was born with C.P. Everything went on the back burner. Medical bills for special hospitals in the U.S. had me working part-time jobs, four at one point, besides my military career. My daughter will be forty next month. Bed-ridden, she requires constant care.

I didn't start reading again until my final retirement in 2004. My first book was Salt: A World History. Then, it was one book after another. For me, as well as most writers, the Internet certainly changed things. It became easy for anyone to write something and put it out there. So I jumped in. I thought it would keep me out of mischief and maybe keep Alzheimers at bay.

I wrote some short stories and it was fun. Some are on Echelon Press. By now, I wanted a book in print. I had no delusions I would ever get a publisher. Along came CreateSpace. Perfect for me. But what to write about? Write what you know about, everyone says. Well, I had spent time in Morocco. I knew about their trains, riding camels, deserts and the Kazbah. That would do.

My first book, Jewel of Marrakesh, is a YA novel, about a spoiled princess, two English boys, along with a flying carpet, slave traders and magic. I must admit, there is nothing like having a book with your name on the cover sitting on your bookshelf.

Next, I tried my hand at a book for adults. I settled on my home town of Sydney Mines. Lots of coal miners and some bootleggers, but basically boring, as I suspect most towns are. So I changed the town name to Li'l Warsaw and titled my book, Moonshine or Dirty Faces.

For the most part the places are real and also most of the people. Of course, everything is exaggerated. How else can you make a story?

You can learn more about this author’s books at http://tinyurl.com/8heos4e .

1 comment:

  1. Jack, thanks so much for your guest post & I hope you'll send me another one when the mood strikes you.

    I was proud of your courage when you talked of your daughter's cerebral palsy. Often we avoid difficult subjects, even between close friends. But your daughter's illness helped define the person you became. I have friends who are care givers & so I realize what an all-consuming and life-changing experience that can be.