Mel Odom is a bestselling, award-winning author.  He teaches at the University of Oklahoma.  His website is www.melodom.com.

I was the oldest of five sons in my family.  We lived in a crowded, very busy house.  Nothing was private.  Nothing was truly yours — except for the things no one else wanted.

I loved books and stories, which none of my brothers really enjoyed at the time.  Now two of them read on a regular basis, we make up the three older children, the ones that grew up without television and ended up being outside all the time.  The adventures we had involved going and doing things, including crawdad fishing, exploring small canyons in the baked hard Oklahoma red dirt, and digging caves.  Anything boys could do.

During the summer we built treehouses.  I stayed up there for hours.  I’d pack a lunch and a book, read and sleep, and I could stand there when the wind was up and imagine I was a jungle lord or a pirate captain on a storm-tossed sea.  Sometimes I was in a spaceship looking out over a dangerous alien planet.

Occasionally my brothers would go with me on those adventures.  But they were more into reality than I was.  I lived for the days my mom would take me to the library.  I only got to check out five books at a time, and she wouldn’t take me again for two weeks.  If I got the books on Monday, I’d finished them by Wednesday.  My mom used to get irritated at me because I’d whine for more books.  She’d tell me I should pace them out better, save them and make them last.

But I couldn’t.  I craved adventure, new experiences, and things that I couldn’t imagine on my own.  I was a junkie for books.

I loved Robert A. Heinlein’s early work, anything Andre Norton wrote, and I learned about romance (incorrectly, it seems, because there was a lot of heartache later) from Edgar Rice Burroughs.  Putting girls on pedastals just doesn’t work.  Maybe if I’d had a sister I wouldn’t have been so innocent.

Or maybe being that naive and that filled with wonderment all constituted the man and the writer I eventually became.  I don’t know.  I’m 52 now, and it’s difficult looking back to figure out what mattered and what didn’t, what important steps were taken, and which ones were missed.

I am who I am at this age.  And the part of me that I want to share with you is the writer.

During the last 22 years, I’ve been a professional author, part-time teacher and professor, and full-time father.  In that time I’ve raised five kids, one of them a daughter who has continued to teach me that I don’t know everything, and written over 150 books that have all been published under my name and various house names and aliases.

In this blog, I’m going to share with you my thoughts and ideas about the craft of writing, about why we have it and what form it may take in the near future.  And I’m going to illustrate the processes of how I do things.  I welcome any and all questions.

I hope you enjoy the trip.


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