Recently, I read an interview about the bestselling fantasy author, M R Mathias. He blatantly states that his book, The Sword and the Dragon, was written in a Texas prison. This wasn’t the first time I’d heard this. It’s even written in the product description on Amazon. I’ve always been curious about why he was doing time and why he chose to broadcast it. (Who wouldn’t be?) Read that someone went to prison and your mind immediately assumes the worst.
The truth? He was doing time for drug possession. (And we’re not exactly talking about a little weed here.) Without resources and validation, and cellmates that included a man with a sixth grade education and a man who was doing twenty-five years for stabbing his uncle, Mathias wrote nine novels. Publishers have rejected his works for his lack of stability, believing he could relapse at any given time. Even he cannot blame them.
Why would a previously unknown author put his reputation on the line? I know they say honesty is the best policy, but where do you draw the line? There’s no doubt that publishers, critics, and readers would jump on that. Provide a controversial issue right from the start and the author is looking for trouble.
Or is he?
It took incredible courage and confidence to be honest about a seedy past and I’m not certain that many authors would have the guts to do the same. People don’t just judge a book by its cover. Word of mouth has tremendous power. Rumors hold enough power to send a rocket to the moon.
His jail time was what made him the person he is today. If not for prison, he may not have become a writer. Sometimes, it takes that sting of reality to give us that much needed kick in the ass. Even if he wished to take back those wasted years, it played a pivotal role in turning his life around.
Do we hide behind these life-changing events and paint the picture the public wants to see?
I do not condone his past, nor have I experienced clashes with the law. But we all have failures that people can’t seem to forget, those that are used as measurements to determine our success in any future attempts. Some people cringe as these past experiences are brought to light. Mathias refused to hide or conceal his transgressions and, for that, he has my respect.
Even if he never reads this post, I’m sending out a much-deserved kudos!
Kudos to Mathias for having the audacity to be openly reveal his darkest secrets. It made him the person he is today, an extremely talented fantasy author. He dared to step outside the line and risk just how far he could go.
This kudos does not belong to him alone, it goes out to anyone who is brave enough to follow your dreams in the face of criticism, self-defeating thoughts, and the past events that hinder us. Change is not to be feared, but embraced. Only with change, can you grow and succeed.
Take inspiration from all the M R Mathias’, your friends, your family, and all those whose displays of courage and discipline in the pursuit of their dreams is nothing short of amazing. Focus on what you want and why it’s important to you and create your own legacy.