Stan Crader

Author & Lecturer on Writing About Rural America

Looking Back at The Bridge

The Bridge

Our bridge

The Bridge, a Christian fiction novel, is an entertaining glimpse of 1960’s rural America. Baby-boomers will experience a journey down memory lane while reading the story of adolescent struggles and romance.

My goal in The Bridge is to take the reader through the full emotional spectrum. A bonus for me is when a reader tells me the characters brought back fond memories of people who were influential during their lives. The story is meant to be a bridge to the reader’s own memories.

Once I mustered the nerve to go public with the news that I’d written a book, I was surprised at the variety of responses. I expected a ho-hum from most and a sympathetic interest by others. What I got was a passionate response from nearly everyone I knew. But the reason for each person’s passion was the most interesting.

First there were my childhood friends who picked up a copy as a defensive maneuver. They wanted to see what had been said about them. Most were relieved when they read the story and realized the characters are composites. A few were disappointed they hadn’t received a starring role; some thanked me for leaving “such and such or so and so” out.

Once the book began receiving excellent reviews from newspapers and a few high profile individuals, all of my former English (Language Arts) teachers came along side. One introduced me at a book signing as one of her best students, which was a bald-face lie, but I smiled and thanked her. Book signings are a blast. During one signing, a lady I’d known growing up told me she’d recently had a stroke and had lost her voice until she’d read the book and began laughing.

The three most frequently asked questions are; Why did you write a book? How do you write a book? How do you get published and sell books? The answer to each is a presentation in itself, but I’ll address each as briefly as possible.

After being prodded by my wife (who came of age in the city) that my experience of growing up in rural Missouri was unique and needed to be shared, I finally decided to put the story in novel form. It’s in novel form to protect the guilty, the innocent need no protection. And my memory isn’t nearly as interesting as my imagination. And yes, there was the promise to my mother to try and amount to something.

Writing a book is hard work. Even a poorly written book is hard work. It’s like building a house, some are better than others, but all required planning and hard work. A book is no different. My advice is to read at least three books on how to write a book before getting started. Sorry, there’s no short cut.

If after getting started and writing isn’t fun, then choose another hobby. Writing a novel must be fun.

No publishers like an author who hasn’t been published. I have a box full of rejection letters to prove my point. So, unless you’re famous, the quickest path to the bookstore is to self-publish. And the best to way to get the books moving is to dedicate the proceeds to a charity. All proceeds for my book sales go to charity. Since the proceeds are going to charity it makes asking people to buy the book much easier. Even if they don’t like the book, they’ll know the money is going for a good cause.

And who knows, they might like the book and tell others. That’s how it worked for me.

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