BECOMING L. J.
as long as I can remember, I have always been a dreamer.
I possess no fancy degrees, nor have I attended
any illustrious schools or writing classes. I have no real education, as I left
school with no qualifications at the age of fifteen to pursue my dream. My
destination is America. For long had I dreamt of living in the land of opportunity,
the land where dreams can indeed come true. But what plan did I have once
there? What was my dream, I hear you ask?
I am an only child and find it difficult to
mix with others. Born on Christmas day in 1975, the seclusion of my upbringing
was hard at times for me. But not as hard as it was on my poor parents, who
could not have any more children. The threat of losing them was a constant
nightmare for me; the fear of being left alone in this big bad world scared me
to death. On Christmas, when my friends would do their lists to Santa asking
for bikes and toys, I was asking Santa to bring me a brother or sister. But
despite this, my childhood was the best years of my life. I remember every
detail of it vividly. As an only child, my imagination was set loose, free to wander
and explore. My toys were my brothers and sisters, movies and television, and my
Growing up in the late seventies and
eighties, Star Wars was my world, its characters my heroes. Back then, we were
spoiled as children with a wealth of entertainment to choose from. It was a
glorious time of blockbuster movies and amazing television. A decade of fabled
heroes and ghastly villains, fresh ideas, and new concepts. This decade was my
playground and my inspiration still to this day.
So why do I think these things are relevant
to my story? Being an only child during this time gave me one thing, a
fantastic imagination. This series of eight books was not spawned from some
sudden lightbulb above the glorious head moment. They have been chiseled and
created from my many years of watching, listening, wondering, thinking,
learning and creating, dreaming and wishing.
So, was this my big dream I can feel you
thinking. A young budding author on his way to the land of hopes and dreams,
ready to take on the big bad world with just a notepad and pen? Have I always
wanted to be an author? The answer to your question is no. And the truth is, I
haven’t read a book since about the age of ten. Again, I can hear you asking
how someone can write books if they don’t read books? Well, keep scrolling down
to find out?
At about the age of eleven, my dad brought
home an old-fashioned typewriter, the kind which makes your fingers bleed
whilst typing. It was upon this typewriter I wrote my first attempt at a story,
so the love of writing and creating has always been there. It was a
cringeworthy tale of me rescuing various family members and friends from hordes
of marauding zombies. Of course, in this story, my entire family and I had
somehow moved to the good old USA, a yellow school bus being our only means of
Hold on a second; I can hear you thinking
after you finished laughing. If you were writing stories from such an early age, what happened? Why did you not know you were destined to become an author? Why
did you not pursue it? My answer to this is simple. The rollercoaster, which is
My parents, who I adore with all my heart, sadly separated from one another. For a time, this left my mum and me without a
home, forcing us to live with relatives for about a year. These were hard times.
Money was scarce, and I missed a whole year of school as getting there from our
various addresses became an impossible task. Having missed most of the first
year of secondary school, going back was hard. School had always been
difficult for me anyway, suffering from various learning difficulties, anxiety, and compulsive disorders.
Staying in America for a short while with
family, I was certain about two things. One. I did not want to leave. Two. I had
to leave. For It turns out my dream was just to be there. But how could I
remain? I was fifteen years old with no clue as to what my future held. I had
no qualifications, no trade or skills to speak of. Just a head full of dreams
and a heart filled with regret.
Back home and many menial jobs later, at
about the age of twenty, I took myself off to the armed forces, The Queens Guard
being my chosen regiment. This is it, I thought; my future is secure, as I
convinced myself daily. But my head was still filled with dreams unfulfilled.
The glistening lights of America still illuminate my thoughts.
After this came the birth of my beautiful
daughter, the lights of America fading as I resumed my menial work as a
security guard. It was at this point something inside of me snapped as my
beautiful newborn baby girl looked upon me with utterly dependent eyes. I had
to do right by her. I had to give her the world and everything in it. There must
be more to life than this, I thought as my dreams were fading fast. But the
birth of my daughter provided me with two things. A love that was
unconditional and completely overwhelming. And a burning desire to succeed.
I went to work, starting various businesses
as my mind raced with ideas. I began a catalog business, delivering door-to-door no matter what the conditions. After this, I started a cleaning company,
cleaning toilets and various other nasty stuff. Then came my courier business,
a shiny new van to match. It was during this time I was blessed with the birth
of my two baby boys, those beautiful, loving eyes again encouraging me to do
Then came the big idea. A period of my life
where I worked my fingers to the bone. I had invented a sports product that
everybody loved. You are going to be filthy rich, I was informed upon a daily basis.
With my head in the clouds, I took myself off to the great city of London with
samples in hand as I attended various meetings that went exceedingly well. I had
found a niece in the market, they informed me. Please, can we take these samples
home for our children they asked?
It was at this point when the rollercoaster
of life took a sharp turn and flung me from its perilous tracks. I was informed
that various big-name brands would not permit the release of my product. The
reasons too complicated to get into here. This devastated me, sending me into a
spiraling depression. I was forty years old as I stood holding my shattered
dreams in my hands. What was I to do now?
After many months of feeling sorry for
myself, I had to do some real soul-searching, my beloved children pulling me
through these moments. ‘You can do it, dad’ constantly rang in my ears as they
reignited the extinguished fire inside me. They guided me from my dark place, a
beacon of light every step of the way. I prayed for answers.
More determined than ever now, I picked
myself up and went back to work. But what was I to do? It was before Christmas, shortly after this, when I came upon something which would forever change my
life. Shifting through the Christmas decorations in the attic, something heavy
fell on my toe. After I had finished my rant, I looked down to see what it was.
And there, nestled upon my foot, was the old typewriter given to me by my dad. I
peered inside the old dusty bag which partially covered it, the memories of my
childhood flooding back. And there, slotted neatly beside the old typewriter, was my epic tale of a zombie apocalypse.
I firmly believe that everything in life
happens for a reason and that we are all guided in some mysterious way. Whether
you choose to follow is entirely up to you. But I looked, and I followed. A path
that has led me here. For when I gazed into that dusty old bag, a scared
little boy with a typewriter looked right back at me with innocent eyes, his
head filled with hopeful dreams and magical thoughts. He reminded me that creating was what I was born to do. Was he right? I guess you shall have to buy
the books to find out.