Looking for ways to tell others' stories, and seeking the human element in every story, has been my path as a writer and my lifelong passion.
For ten years, I was a print journalist by day and a freelancer by night, as a magazine writer and then as a senior editor for trade publications. I carved out niches for myself, learning with every new story until I could confidently write about a broad scope of topics: from courts and crime to technology and startups. What I didn't realize, in the midst of those twelve thousand stories, was that I was learning to look for the hook. I learned to mine for the reason-to-keep-reading (and to save a satisfying nugget for the finale).
My first opportunities to ghostwrite arose while I was a journalist. First, I was hired to write a book on the architecture of ethnic churches, learning about the immigrants who gave what little they had to erect magnificent tributes to their faith and identity. The content was the built environment, but the real story it housed was human triumph in the face of ongoing trials.
I didn't, at first, see the parallel when a woman approached me to write her late mother's story of surviving tuberculosis in an era of sanitoriums. I suppose I didn't see the connection when a paratrooper from World War II wanted me to ghostwrite his adventures or when an entrepreneur in financial services asked me to share the philosophies that led him from manning a roadside food cart to operating a thriving, multimillion-dollar company. Now I see the common thread: the triumph of the human spirit in trying circumstances. Collaborating with those authors, we found those hooks and kept readers reading. I was able to slip into someone else's life, capturing not just the essence of the story but also the voice of the storyteller.
Here's an unedited snippet from a five-star review of one of my ghostwritten books:
"This book is NOT just a book!! This is a heart...that has been signed!! The author wrote in a way that we were actually able to step into this book...smelling the food cooking, hearing peoples conversations...you are not just reading, you are part of this book!!”
My biggest breakthrough so far came when I found an online class by best-selling thriller author James Patterson. Days after I enrolled, Patterson announced that he would choose one student to be his next co-author. After many nights of hard work, I received a phone call from James Patterson himself.
I'll never forget how it felt, sneaking to a corner of a press conference I was covering to answer my cell phone and recognizing his voice: "The good news," Patterson said, with an agonizing pause, "is that you won. The bad news is, you'll have to work with me."
Patterson chose my story idea and writing as the strongest among tens of thousands of submissions. My life would never be the same.
Since then, I've had the opportunity to ghostwrite two more books: One was for a scientist who wanted to share his research through engaging storytelling instead of academic bravado and another was for a business consultant who had enjoyed success on a national scale but struggled to shape the book his clients were urging him to write about his tactics and philosophy. Now, I'm back to fiction with a twisty psychological thriller with a published author of police procedurals who knows he has a killer idea but needs someone to do the hard work of making it feel real, and alive.
Aside from James Patterson's personal mentorship on writing suspense, the most valuable aspect of writing a book with him was realizing that, for me, style and voice are adoptable, but the one constant - my ongoing obsession - is telling a story that captivates. I'd love to help you do the same.
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