While I love what I do, fiction writing is not my first career. With any luck it will be my last and it will most likely always be my favorite. But I began my career in radio, of all places. I started in college on the campus radio station. I continued on to get jobs at other stations around town and an internship in another city, which then turned into a full time job when I graduated. I spent ten years writing scripts, producing shows and spots, organizing promotions, and being on the air in various time slots.
There are many things that I enjoyed about radio, but as an introvert, people had a hard time believing that’s what I actually did for a living. What they did not think about was the fact that when I was on the radio, I was in a room by myself…talking TO myself. Or so it felt. In that way, writing is the same. I only write when I am alone. Things are quiet and still. I know that people might read my words someday, but that’s beside the point. I am alone when I write them.
Radio has had quite an impact on my most recent fiction writing, as has my other very brief career in TV news. I have been to a number of writing conferences and I have heard over and over again “write what you know.” I gave this a try in a number of my books. For example, “Wrong Place, Right Time,” is a romantic comedy centered on a woman who works as a bumbling traffic reporter. That is the very job that I did in TV news for a whole 5 months. So her experiences at the TV station are things I experienced or saw.
In “Accept this Dandelion,” I decided to go even closer to home. The main character in this novel is an on air announcer and scriptwriter at a radio station, much like I was. Everything you read in the book surrounding radio is authentic and I know that because I’ve been there. I was there for a full decade, in fact!
My background in radio also helped feed my current creativity. When I wrote scripts for radio, I sometimes wrote standard stuff. Here’s the client name, here’s the product, here’s the phone number blah blah blah. But when given the chance, I would write some pretty out there things and producing commercials with sound effects is a real blast. In “Accept this Dandelion” someone brings up a vet commercial and asks my main character if she made it. She did. And it’s one that I actually remember making myself several years back.
My career and life in radio seeps through many places in my work. Radio is a fascinating world and not that many people get a chance to work behind the microphone like that. I found bringing it to life in book form easy since I was in it for so long and also a lot of fun.
While I enjoyed scriptwriting and still occasionally dabble in that work, scripts were generally 60 seconds in length at the longest. And as a writer, it’s hard for me to stop once I’m on a roll! I’ve found that fiction writing is much more suited to my lengthiness. I’m not sure that’s a word. J And while I enjoyed many aspects of radio, my only regret is that I didn’t jump into the fiction world sooner.