I’m a child of the 80s when it comes to music, but one of the 60s and 70s when it comes to my taste in science fiction. I grew up on Heinlein, Asimov, Clarke, van Vogt, Niven and Pournelle, and later embraced Drake, Weber, and Gier. I watched every science fiction movie I could, and was glued to the tube for the classic sci-fi TV series of the time (and many that followed since then), leading off with Star Trek, Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Project UFO and Space 1999. There were others, of course, from Alien to Star Wars, but the aforementioned authors and shows were the foundation of my formative years.
Since I’ve loved to read since I was young, developing a passion to write perhaps comes as no great surprise. In my final year in high school I began to scribble (literally, as my handwriting is an illegible scrawl!) the text for what would later become my first book, which I finished writing in 1994: In Her Name (which I eventually split up and republished as Empire, Confederation, and Final Battle). Unfortunately, no publisher would have it, and it sat under my desk in a box, acting as a footrest, until I learned about Amazon’s Kindle Publishing Platform (KDP) in 2007. Deciding that I had nothing to lose and yearning to check off the “published author” box on my bucket list, I spent the winter of 2007 scanning in the 1,000-odd pages (yes, you read that right!) of the In Her Name manuscript into my computer, correcting all the optical character recognition errors, and then doing my best to edit the text. That little project took roughly six months of my spare time, and I finally published it in 2008. In my mind, that was it – my book was on Amazon! I didn’t care a whit, honestly, if I ever sold a copy. But all those words were out there if someone happened to trip over them.
Shockingly enough, I sold three copies in the first month. Sales slowly but steadily grew, and readers began to reach out to me, asking me to write more, and so I did, tapping away at the keyboard in my free time during nights and weekends.
Then it happened: in 2011 Season of the Harvest went ballistic on the charts, and that year I sold or gave away for promotions roughly 150,000 books and made as much in the span of six months from my royalties as I would from my senior grade Federal salary for the entire year. After a lot of thought, I decided to make a major course change in life: I resigned my position and took up writing full time. Shortly after that, we moved from our long-time home in Maryland to Sarasota, Florida, which is a slice of tropical paradise.
Ironically, after nearly six years of working as an author, I made the decision to go back to my old day job. Many might think I was insane to do so, but I discovered that being a full-time author can be an extremely lonely pursuit, particularly for someone who’s spent his entire adult life working as part of a dynamic team. I also discovered that worrying about book sales has a very corrosive effect on my creative process, and I simply wasn’t enjoying writing anymore. So now I have the best of both worlds, at least for me: I serve my country by day, and don my mask and cape to become a purveyor of fiction stories by night (and weekends).
So, my friend, that’s “about me” in a nutshell. I hope you enjoy my storytelling, and if you haven’t already, I invite you to check out some of the books I offer for free to get new readers hooked. Enjoy!
– Michael R. Hicks