I’ve been creative writing, to some degree, since elementary school. It’s the only hobby that I loved and didn’t hurt me at the same time. Physically, I mean. Thankfully, the 16 years I’ve been skateboarding has been kind to me. A few twisted ankles. Lots of scars. Breaking my little pinky finger and almost knocking my teeth out at the same time. But nothing major.

I’ve filmed, produced, and directed three full-length skateboarding videos with the help of my brother and some friends. I use the terms “produce” and “direct “ because it truly involves an insane amount of structure, time-management, money, and time behind a computer to create a quality skate video; just as much as any movie. Our latest “Perfect Harbor” actually involved some narrative writing. I don’t know if it came off the way I originally imagined, but it was fun to make nonetheless.

The idea for my novel “Silenced” came around 2014 when I started at the University of South Florida. Back then, I wanted to make it into a video game, and actually started doing so. I downloaded Unity and started building a crude mimic of a Metal Gear Solid game, which had always been a major inspiration to the story’s premise. I quickly hit a dead end when I realized I had to take the training wheels off and learn a little coding in order to make the game function the way I wanted. Being a little less determined back then, I gave up.

A couple years later, I tried it again as not an audiobook, but an audio drama. Music, sound effects, and voice acting were the bare minimum essentials for the story if I couldn’t find a way to create the story in a visual form. I even assembled a whole cast voice actors, garnered hundreds of hours of sound effects and music, only to have my lead voice actor stop replying to my emails. I had to can the whole project, and didn’t touch it with any sort of actual intent until late 2019. I knew it was possible to realize this story in novel form if I tried.

I wrote maybe 1/3 of it, lost hope again, then one late night at work, I stumbled down a rabbit hole of YouTube videos on self publishing. Namely, Chris Fox’s videos helped me get out of my slump. In October 2020, I went back to work, using Chris Fox’s and a dozen other wise YouTubers’ advice. By mid January I’d added a whopping 110,000 words to what I already had. A 185,000 word finished novel was on my hands.

Then I realized that’s when the real work began.