All

I found writing as I was passing through a midlife crisis of sorts (strictly career related—no girlfriend or sports car involved). My wife and I had just sold our business and I was struggling to find a new professional direction for my life. I thought it would be easy to jump into corporate America, but I’m the type of person who needs to feel like I’m making a difference, and I was struggling to find that with an 8-to-5 desk job. My wife happened to be in a couple of book clubs at the time, and I remember picking up her books, reading through them, and then exclaiming, “I could write this stuff!”

I ultimately tried writing, only to discover that it is an agonizing, insufferable, forlorn occupation—one where you bear your soul to the world and then watch them tear it to pieces. Oddly, writing is also addictive, gratifying, even alluring. It’s an obsession that invades your mind and your thoughts, that keeps you up at night contemplating the lives, words, and actions of people who often don’t even exist—and yet they do because characters in stories are nothing less than a reflection of us all, our desires, passions, faults, and failures—as well as our triumphs.

I enjoy a wide variety of authors and genres, but generally prefer fiction. A few favorite authors who come to mind are: Nick Hornby (his early writing), Yann Martel (Life of Pi), anything by Mitch Albom, Anthony Doerr (his descriptions are brilliant), Markus Zusak (The Book Thief), and Steve Martin (talented in so many areas).

As for books on writing, Stephen King’s On Writing, Chris Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, and Roy Williams’s Wizard of Ads series are all excellent. (While the latter series by Williams is actually about advertising, they are some of the most insightful books on fiction writing I’ve ever read.)

Early in my writing career, in an effort to garner an agent’s attention, I sent a letter to Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, asking for his endorsement. He understandably wasn’t able to provide it, but he sent a letter explaining why his busy schedule wouldn’t allow him the time. He could have just ignored me, like many others did, but instead he sent a personal response, which was a very classy thing to do.

That said, I can relate to his dilemma. I’d love to read everything that people send, but sadly, with my own deadlines, family commitments and required reading, there simply isn’t enough time—and for that I’m sincerely sorry.

In the early stages of my writing while I was struggling to find success, Amanda Dickson of KSL Radio gave me some advice that really hit home. She said simply, “Passion finds a way.” It’s very true. If you are passionate about your aspirations, life has a funny way of working out for the best.

Remember, my background is in business, not English or writing. (Actually, English teachers scare me.) I guess what I’m saying is, “If I can do it, anybody can do it.” That said, don’t expect your path to be easy. It’s a process that takes crazy amounts of patience and persistence.

Lastly—and this is just an observation—I suggest you spend more time writing your story and less time on social media talking about writing your story.

Putting all the words together. The answer is flippant, but accurate. I wish I could say that as I sit typing away at my computer, brilliant prose spews out. Sadly, that’s seldom the case. I write and revise, write and revise, write and revise. By the time I have a manuscript ready for another person to read, I’ve read through and revised it easily a hundred times.

The struggle is always in selecting words, crafting sentences, assembling paragraphs and pages that capture the desired emotion swirling around in one’s head. Writing is like assembling a rather large puzzle. When you’re only partly finished and can’t find all of the pieces, it can be rather frustrating. When it’s finally complete, it can be extremely gratifying.

I generally write at home in my den, though at times I’ve been known to head down to a vacation home my in-laws own about three hours south. It takes time for me to get both my head and heart into the story and characters. It means I write best when I’m completely alone and have long stretches of time available to me.

As a side note, I don’t write chronologically. Rather, I’ll write individual scenes as I see them in my head. As such, each story becomes a mishmash of puzzle pieces that eventually need to be stitched together. Another thing—and it’s quirky—but when I write, the door to the room has to be closed, even if I’m the only one home.

The Other Side of the Bridge releases in hardcover in March of 2018. I also have a Christmas book that I’m very excited about that comes out in October of 2018. I can’t reveal the title quite yet, but do watch for it.
When I was 15, I accidently knocked out my older brother’s two front teeth with a hammer.
I Skype with as many book groups as my schedule allows. If you're reading one of my books as a group and would like to inquire about the possibility of Skyping with me, click here.
Yes, certainly. To arrange an in-person speaking engagement, contact Dawn Stuart at Books in Common at 541-318-6288.
It's easy. Just fill in your name and email below.

Unlike my previous books, which were all to some degree based on real people and events, the plot in The Other Side of the Bridge should be considered fiction. That said, the characters’ backgrounds and some of the events are based on real situations. Also, the historical aspects of the Golden Gate Bridge should generally be accurate, since the information was taken from real letters and histories of the bridge.
It’s hard to say, since it’s a story I’ve tinkered with for years. My wife loved it and constantly encouraged me to pursue its publication with more persistence. To that end, I submitted the story to the current publisher years ago and they turned it down, saying it wasn’t the type of story they were seeking. Years later, when they asked if I had another story for them, I submitted it to them again, not telling them they’d already turned it down. This time, however, they loved it, saying it was exactly the type of story they were seeking. It goes to show that in life, timing is everything.
My neighbor, a screenwriter, was introduced to Taj several years ago. He and I were out together at a basketball game and as we talked story, he began to tell me about Taj’s kidnapping and journey of self-discovery. I was shaking my head in disbelief. If this story was real, I knew I had to meet the man. The initial meeting was arranged and just a few minutes into our conversation, I knew I needed to write Taj’s story—which was even more amazing than my neighbor had related. It took several weeks to convince Taj that I could do his story justice, but he finally relented.
As a storyteller, specifically a fiction writer, I want to entertain and engage. I know I’m doing my job when a reader emails to say he or she stayed up until early in the morning, unable to put the book down. In addition, in the case of Taj’s story, I hope the reader walks away a better person, someone with more gratitude, more hope, and a greater appreciation for friends and family.
The story is based on the life experience of Taj Rowland (Chellamuthu). Barring a few minor changes (for the sake of plot and pacing), his real-life account was followed rather closely. Naturally, there were holes that needed to be filled for events and characters where information was lacking. For example, while Taj does not believe his father was involved in his kidnapping and sale to the Lincoln Home orphanage, he can’t be certain. With said events, the puzzle pieces were assembled with logical presumption.
I’m a fiction writer. I need the freedom to compress time, rearrange dialogue, merge two characters into one, or make any number of changes to improve the story’s plot, pacing, and delivery. I prefer to spend my time refining the story, not verifying facts. Taj’s story is labeled a novel. That said, barring a few of the above-mentioned exceptions, I felt compelled to follow Taj’s actual account as closely as possible.
Taj never asked for veto power and I never offered. The closest he came was saying something like, “Please don’t write me as a serial killer.” We didn’t really know each other at that point, so I appreciated his trust. In the end, I didn’t let him see the story until it was finished. It was a scary moment for each of us. I delivered it on a weekday evening at about 6:00 pm, and then received a call from him early the next morning. He’d stayed up all night reading—and gratefully, he offered nothing but praise.
In short, about a year. Writing was slow in the beginning, but as the interviews with Taj continued and the layers of his story peeled away, the pace quickened. Near the end, Taj insisted I visit India to see firsthand where his story took place—and the trip proved invaluable.
It’s given me a greater appreciation for parents who adopt. It’s reminded me of our innate desire as people to be part of a family and to connect with our roots. It’s taught me about new cultures and customs, and it’s given me the privilege of getting to know Taj and Priya, to be able to count them as friends.
I don’t know that there is any rational way to explain them, other than God, or Fate, or the Universe—or whatever you call that higher power that sometimes overshadows our lives.

I began building the story in my head after my son, a film major, spent time at the Stung Meanchey dump in Cambodia filming a documentary. He followed Sang Ly and her family around, and after watching his footage, I found her to be mesmerizing. In truth, I couldn’t get her out of my head. That said, I also struggled with how to put her character down on paper. And so Sang Ly, the character, became a burden. It was like she was always there whispering for me to write something, but every time I tried, the story went nowhere.

It’s a difficult question to answer. Some events occurred exactly as I described them (specifically Sang Ly’s effort to find a cure for her son). Other events occurred across a multitude of people, whom I wove into a single character. Does that make it true or not true? It gets a bit murky to dissect. Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about true vs. not-true. As Ernest Hemingway is reported to have said, “All good books have one thing in common, they are truer than if they had really happened.”
I would suggest you get a copy of my son's documentary, River of Victory. (It was nominated for the prestigious International Documentary Association awards.) Not only is his original documentary (the inspiration for my book) available on DVD, but we later traveled back to Cambodia to find Sang Ly, resulting in a follow-up documentary called Finding Sang Ly that is also included on the DVD. Click here to purchase. You may also want to follow me on Facebook (AuthorCamronWright), where I post occasional updates about the family.
The story opens in the final stages of Harry Whitney's life. Not only is he dying, he's losing his mind. Harry has Alzheimer's disease and he knows his "good" time is short, so he compiles a book of his own poems as a final gift for Emily, his favorite granddaughter. When the family discovers his book, it's quickly dismissed as the ramblings of a senile old man—that is, until secrets are discovered hidden in each poem. Through his writings, Harry's past is slowly uncovered: how he courted, won, and then lost his great love, Katherine; the years he spent struggling to raise two children as a single father; and the lessons and wisdom he gathered throughout his life. Ultimately, it's not what the family discovers about Harry that's most important, but what they learn about themselves. In short, it's a story that celebrates family, hope, love, and life.
Yes and no. Like Harry Whitney in the book, my grandfather wrote poems to his family his entire life. After his death, it was the hidden wisdom in his poems that inspired the story behind Letters for Emily. While the two Harrys are certainly similar, the book is still a work of fiction. A writing instructor, speaking of her own work, once said, “It’s not true, but it’s truthful,” meaning it’s fiction, but into that fiction one weaves real events and real people. It teaches truth, even though the story as a whole is a novel.
He was colorful. He loved life. He was the grandfather who learned to water-ski for the first time at age sixty-five. He was always looking for joy in life, even if in mischievous ways. Once, when I was about eight, he took me and my brother to a restaurant. The waitress who served us that day was rude and had a huge scowl plastered across her face. Rather than get angry, Grandpa waited for her to walk away and then, with a sly grin, he bet us each a dollar that he could make the woman smile. From the looks of her, we thought it was a safe bet. However, when she came back to the table with our order, my grandfather stood and put his arm around her. In a sincere tone, he told her that she was the best waitress he’d ever had. He thanked her profusely for her wonderful service and then handed her a ten dollar bill. She forced a slight smile, and we lost the bet. For years I never understood why he’d spent ten dollars to win a dollar bet. It wasn’t until after his death that I began to understand he was teaching us a lesson about the satisfaction we could gain by bringing joy to others.
Shortly after completing the manuscript, I ran into a friend who had worked in the publishing industry. He read the manuscript and loved it. With his partnership, I self-published and promoted the book regionally. It was a true lesson in entrepreneurship, since I was an author, designer, publicist, and salesman rolled into one. I filled my car with books, then repeatedly visited every bookstore within a 100-mile radius—just so I could shake hands with the salespeople and give them copies. The store employees were mostly polite, but it wasn't until they’d read the book that I started getting calls and emails asking me to do book signings. The book sold well enough in such a short period of time that I was able to garner the interest of a New York agent. Soon, North American rights were auctioned to Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. Later, the book was translated and sold in a dozen countries around the world.
In addition to the lessons Harry imparts in the book, I hope the story inspires readers to take time to write their own thoughts, lessons, and wisdom for their children and grandchildren. It was through my grandfather’s book of poems that I was able to rekindle memories of the true man, the man who loved life and cherished family. I doubt that my grandfather understood the impact his writings would have on many members of his family. It’s the same with all of us. Our children, grandchildren, and generations to come will crave information about us, what we were like, what made us laugh, what made us cry, what made us real. Whatever form it takes—letters, a journal, a scrapbook—I think it’s valuable to put our thoughts and stories down on paper. I learned firsthand, with my own grandfather’s writings, how a few simple words helped us all to better remember him.

General Questions (not book specific)

I found writing as I was passing through a midlife crisis of sorts (strictly career related—no girlfriend or sports car involved). My wife and I had just sold our business and I was struggling to find a new professional direction for my life. I thought it would be easy to jump into corporate America, but I’m the type of person who needs to feel like I’m making a difference, and I was struggling to find that with an 8-to-5 desk job. My wife happened to be in a couple of book clubs at the time, and I remember picking up her books, reading through them, and then exclaiming, “I could write this stuff!”

I ultimately tried writing, only to discover that it is an agonizing, insufferable, forlorn occupation—one where you bear your soul to the world and then watch them tear it to pieces. Oddly, writing is also addictive, gratifying, even alluring. It’s an obsession that invades your mind and your thoughts, that keeps you up at night contemplating the lives, words, and actions of people who often don’t even exist—and yet they do because characters in stories are nothing less than a reflection of us all, our desires, passions, faults, and failures—as well as our triumphs.

I enjoy a wide variety of authors and genres, but generally prefer fiction. A few favorite authors who come to mind are: Nick Hornby (his early writing), Yann Martel (Life of Pi), anything by Mitch Albom, Anthony Doerr (his descriptions are brilliant), Markus Zusak (The Book Thief), and Steve Martin (talented in so many areas).

As for books on writing, Stephen King’s On Writing, Chris Vogler’s The Writer’s Journey, and Roy Williams’s Wizard of Ads series are all excellent. (While the latter series by Williams is actually about advertising, they are some of the most insightful books on fiction writing I’ve ever read.)

Early in my writing career, in an effort to garner an agent’s attention, I sent a letter to Jack Canfield of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame, asking for his endorsement. He understandably wasn’t able to provide it, but he sent a letter explaining why his busy schedule wouldn’t allow him the time. He could have just ignored me, like many others did, but instead he sent a personal response, which was a very classy thing to do.

That said, I can relate to his dilemma. I’d love to read everything that people send, but sadly, with my own deadlines, family commitments and required reading, there simply isn’t enough time—and for that I’m sincerely sorry.

In the early stages of my writing while I was struggling to find success, Amanda Dickson of KSL Radio gave me some advice that really hit home. She said simply, “Passion finds a way.” It’s very true. If you are passionate about your aspirations, life has a funny way of working out for the best.

Remember, my background is in business, not English or writing. (Actually, English teachers scare me.) I guess what I’m saying is, “If I can do it, anybody can do it.” That said, don’t expect your path to be easy. It’s a process that takes crazy amounts of patience and persistence.

Lastly—and this is just an observation—I suggest you spend more time writing your story and less time on social media talking about writing your story.

Putting all the words together. The answer is flippant, but accurate. I wish I could say that as I sit typing away at my computer, brilliant prose spews out. Sadly, that’s seldom the case. I write and revise, write and revise, write and revise. By the time I have a manuscript ready for another person to read, I’ve read through and revised it easily a hundred times.

The struggle is always in selecting words, crafting sentences, assembling paragraphs and pages that capture the desired emotion swirling around in one’s head. Writing is like assembling a rather large puzzle. When you’re only partly finished and can’t find all of the pieces, it can be rather frustrating. When it’s finally complete, it can be extremely gratifying.

I generally write at home in my den, though at times I’ve been known to head down to a vacation home my in-laws own about three hours south. It takes time for me to get both my head and heart into the story and characters. It means I write best when I’m completely alone and have long stretches of time available to me.

As a side note, I don’t write chronologically. Rather, I’ll write individual scenes as I see them in my head. As such, each story becomes a mishmash of puzzle pieces that eventually need to be stitched together. Another thing—and it’s quirky—but when I write, the door to the room has to be closed, even if I’m the only one home.

The Other Side of the Bridge releases in hardcover in March of 2018. I also have a Christmas book that I’m very excited about that comes out in October of 2018. I can’t reveal the title quite yet, but do watch for it.
When I was 15, I accidently knocked out my older brother’s two front teeth with a hammer.
I Skype with as many book groups as my schedule allows. If you're reading one of my books as a group and would like to inquire about the possibility of Skyping with me, click here.
Yes, certainly. To arrange an in-person speaking engagement, contact Dawn Stuart at Books in Common at 541-318-6288.
It's easy. Just fill in your name and email below.

The Other Side of the Bridge

Unlike my previous books, which were all to some degree based on real people and events, the plot in The Other Side of the Bridge should be considered fiction. That said, the characters’ backgrounds and some of the events are based on real situations. Also, the historical aspects of the Golden Gate Bridge should generally be accurate, since the information was taken from real letters and histories of the bridge.
It’s hard to say, since it’s a story I’ve tinkered with for years. My wife loved it and constantly encouraged me to pursue its publication with more persistence. To that end, I submitted the story to the current publisher years ago and they turned it down, saying it wasn’t the type of story they were seeking. Years later, when they asked if I had another story for them, I submitted it to them again, not telling them they’d already turned it down. This time, however, they loved it, saying it was exactly the type of story they were seeking. It goes to show that in life, timing is everything.

The Orphan Keeper

My neighbor, a screenwriter, was introduced to Taj several years ago. He and I were out together at a basketball game and as we talked story, he began to tell me about Taj’s kidnapping and journey of self-discovery. I was shaking my head in disbelief. If this story was real, I knew I had to meet the man. The initial meeting was arranged and just a few minutes into our conversation, I knew I needed to write Taj’s story—which was even more amazing than my neighbor had related. It took several weeks to convince Taj that I could do his story justice, but he finally relented.
As a storyteller, specifically a fiction writer, I want to entertain and engage. I know I’m doing my job when a reader emails to say he or she stayed up until early in the morning, unable to put the book down. In addition, in the case of Taj’s story, I hope the reader walks away a better person, someone with more gratitude, more hope, and a greater appreciation for friends and family.
The story is based on the life experience of Taj Rowland (Chellamuthu). Barring a few minor changes (for the sake of plot and pacing), his real-life account was followed rather closely. Naturally, there were holes that needed to be filled for events and characters where information was lacking. For example, while Taj does not believe his father was involved in his kidnapping and sale to the Lincoln Home orphanage, he can’t be certain. With said events, the puzzle pieces were assembled with logical presumption.
I’m a fiction writer. I need the freedom to compress time, rearrange dialogue, merge two characters into one, or make any number of changes to improve the story’s plot, pacing, and delivery. I prefer to spend my time refining the story, not verifying facts. Taj’s story is labeled a novel. That said, barring a few of the above-mentioned exceptions, I felt compelled to follow Taj’s actual account as closely as possible.
Taj never asked for veto power and I never offered. The closest he came was saying something like, “Please don’t write me as a serial killer.” We didn’t really know each other at that point, so I appreciated his trust. In the end, I didn’t let him see the story until it was finished. It was a scary moment for each of us. I delivered it on a weekday evening at about 6:00 pm, and then received a call from him early the next morning. He’d stayed up all night reading—and gratefully, he offered nothing but praise.
In short, about a year. Writing was slow in the beginning, but as the interviews with Taj continued and the layers of his story peeled away, the pace quickened. Near the end, Taj insisted I visit India to see firsthand where his story took place—and the trip proved invaluable.
It’s given me a greater appreciation for parents who adopt. It’s reminded me of our innate desire as people to be part of a family and to connect with our roots. It’s taught me about new cultures and customs, and it’s given me the privilege of getting to know Taj and Priya, to be able to count them as friends.
I don’t know that there is any rational way to explain them, other than God, or Fate, or the Universe—or whatever you call that higher power that sometimes overshadows our lives.

The Rent Collector

I began building the story in my head after my son, a film major, spent time at the Stung Meanchey dump in Cambodia filming a documentary. He followed Sang Ly and her family around, and after watching his footage, I found her to be mesmerizing. In truth, I couldn’t get her out of my head. That said, I also struggled with how to put her character down on paper. And so Sang Ly, the character, became a burden. It was like she was always there whispering for me to write something, but every time I tried, the story went nowhere.

Then, a good friend and business associate who was instrumental in the success of my first book, Letters for Emily, passed away unexpectedly. I was sitting at his funeral when I realized it was time to get serious. I began to work steadily on the story, and with some persistence had the first drafts of a manuscript ready several months later.

It’s a difficult question to answer. Some events occurred exactly as I described them (specifically Sang Ly’s effort to find a cure for her son). Other events occurred across a multitude of people, whom I wove into a single character. Does that make it true or not true? It gets a bit murky to dissect. Personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about true vs. not-true. As Ernest Hemingway is reported to have said, “All good books have one thing in common, they are truer than if they had really happened.”
I would suggest you get a copy of my son's documentary, River of Victory. (It was nominated for the prestigious International Documentary Association awards.) Not only is his original documentary (the inspiration for my book) available on DVD, but we later traveled back to Cambodia to find Sang Ly, resulting in a follow-up documentary called Finding Sang Ly that is also included on the DVD. Click here to purchase. You may also want to follow me on Facebook (AuthorCamronWright), where I post occasional updates about the family.

Letters for Emily

The story opens in the final stages of Harry Whitney's life. Not only is he dying, he's losing his mind. Harry has Alzheimer's disease and he knows his "good" time is short, so he compiles a book of his own poems as a final gift for Emily, his favorite granddaughter. When the family discovers his book, it's quickly dismissed as the ramblings of a senile old man—that is, until secrets are discovered hidden in each poem. Through his writings, Harry's past is slowly uncovered: how he courted, won, and then lost his great love, Katherine; the years he spent struggling to raise two children as a single father; and the lessons and wisdom he gathered throughout his life. Ultimately, it's not what the family discovers about Harry that's most important, but what they learn about themselves. In short, it's a story that celebrates family, hope, love, and life.
Yes and no. Like Harry Whitney in the book, my grandfather wrote poems to his family his entire life. After his death, it was the hidden wisdom in his poems that inspired the story behind Letters for Emily. While the two Harrys are certainly similar, the book is still a work of fiction. A writing instructor, speaking of her own work, once said, “It’s not true, but it’s truthful,” meaning it’s fiction, but into that fiction one weaves real events and real people. It teaches truth, even though the story as a whole is a novel.
He was colorful. He loved life. He was the grandfather who learned to water-ski for the first time at age sixty-five. He was always looking for joy in life, even if in mischievous ways. Once, when I was about eight, he took me and my brother to a restaurant. The waitress who served us that day was rude and had a huge scowl plastered across her face. Rather than get angry, Grandpa waited for her to walk away and then, with a sly grin, he bet us each a dollar that he could make the woman smile. From the looks of her, we thought it was a safe bet. However, when she came back to the table with our order, my grandfather stood and put his arm around her. In a sincere tone, he told her that she was the best waitress he’d ever had. He thanked her profusely for her wonderful service and then handed her a ten dollar bill. She forced a slight smile, and we lost the bet. For years I never understood why he’d spent ten dollars to win a dollar bet. It wasn’t until after his death that I began to understand he was teaching us a lesson about the satisfaction we could gain by bringing joy to others.
Shortly after completing the manuscript, I ran into a friend who had worked in the publishing industry. He read the manuscript and loved it. With his partnership, I self-published and promoted the book regionally. It was a true lesson in entrepreneurship, since I was an author, designer, publicist, and salesman rolled into one. I filled my car with books, then repeatedly visited every bookstore within a 100-mile radius—just so I could shake hands with the salespeople and give them copies. The store employees were mostly polite, but it wasn't until they’d read the book that I started getting calls and emails asking me to do book signings. The book sold well enough in such a short period of time that I was able to garner the interest of a New York agent. Soon, North American rights were auctioned to Pocket Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. Later, the book was translated and sold in a dozen countries around the world.
In addition to the lessons Harry imparts in the book, I hope the story inspires readers to take time to write their own thoughts, lessons, and wisdom for their children and grandchildren. It was through my grandfather’s book of poems that I was able to rekindle memories of the true man, the man who loved life and cherished family. I doubt that my grandfather understood the impact his writings would have on many members of his family. It’s the same with all of us. Our children, grandchildren, and generations to come will crave information about us, what we were like, what made us laugh, what made us cry, what made us real. Whatever form it takes—letters, a journal, a scrapbook—I think it’s valuable to put our thoughts and stories down on paper. I learned firsthand, with my own grandfather’s writings, how a few simple words helped us all to better remember him.