March Newsletter: To To My Friends, Both Old and New
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Welcome to Quinn Heder Books. To those of you who have followed me before we created QH Books, thank you for staying with me through a rather tumultuous and difficult time in my life. To all of my new followers and expectant readers of Search For Yesterday and soon to be released Deacon Wells Series, thank you for your support.
As has been well publicized, we are launching the second edition of Search For Yesterday tomorrow. What hasn’t been publicized at all, is the reason for us needing to create a second edition. In this newsletter, I will attempt to be vulnerable in sharing with you the reason, along with an explanation for the long delay in releasing the follow-up series. Deacon Wells books I, II, III and IV were written in 2009 – 2010, but then shelved rather than being published, not because they weren’t good, but because of circumstance and an unfortunate personal condition.
We are all familiar with mental health challenges, whether because we have suffered personally or because someone we love has been touched by one form or another. In 2010, my brother Van, two years my junior, passed away of leukemia. I had just signed a publishing contract for Search For Yesterday a few months earlier and had printed a rough copy for him to read, hoping to share it with him before his condition worsened. Unfortunately, and innocently I must add, my wonderful father, who was staying in Van’s home with my mom to help out with the kids, got his hands on the copy thinking I had brought it for him. I can’t fault him for Van’s not getting to read my manuscript because he has been my biggest fan since reading it himself. I didn’t have the heart to tell him and by the time I had a second copy prepared, Van’s condition had declined to the point that reading wasn’t something he could, or wanted to do. Shortly after, he passed away.
“Cowboy up” . . . “pull up your big-boy pants” or, I’m sure you’ve heard this or something like it, “hard work cures all, so go to work.” For the better part of three years, these phrases or variations of them became my mantras, especially when only months after Van’s passing, we received word that my sister JoLyn, one year my senior, had stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I’m emotional just writing this, thinking of how my heart broke and then in the months and years that followed, continued to ache in such a way that I became consumed with it. Following JoLyn’s passing, grief, worry and the stress of post recession rebuilding of my business, overtook me without my realizing. Where it had been my weekly practice to publish a new post on my blog prior to losing my siblings, I found it impossible to remember even the events of a single day, let alone something I felt worthwhile to write.
Unaware of my declining mental health, I plowed on, believing that as long as I kept busy and moving, things would work themselves out. I convinced myself that lapses in memory, loss of ambition and perspective, even confidence were just random, temporary challenges. When I began to despair, and then to hate, blaming the people closest to me for my struggles, even accusing them of trying to sabotage my happiness, I could no longer justify my thoughts and behavior as random, temporary or in any way excusable.
After a phone call to a therapist, I began treatment for severe depression. Family and friends were supportive and patient despite my slow recovery. At one point, I confessed to my wonderful wife that I was losing my mind and feared she would soon be stuck with a lunatic for a husband. “I’m not willing to accept that,” she replied emphatically. Can I just tell you how much I love and adore my beautiful partner, she was and has ever been an unmovable, relentless force for good in my life. “Let’s make a plan to get you feeling better,” she said. “We’ll get you tested and let the professionals determine if there’s nothing that will help you.”
Appointments followed by more appointments, with all kinds of specialists, turned up symptoms, but no diagnosis, until a certain endocrinologist, having reached her last straw, asked about my sleep.
“The only thing I can think of, other than a brain tumor,” she explained, “that might cause your systems to shut down like this would be sleep deprivation and oxygen starvation.” From that conversation new tests and treatments began and in the end, correcting my sleep and oxygen saturation levels during sleep, stopped the deterioration of my brain function and bodily systems. Still, the damage sustained during my decline needed repairing before I could hope to regain normal function as I had enjoyed prior to becoming ill.
Enrollment in university studies and three years of grueling brain yoga, served to do the most in repairing me. At first, it took me three times the time other students were spending to complete my weekly studies and assignments, but after a year, I saw improvement and with that improvement, came increased hope and confidence. The brain is an amazing organ, and little by little, it rebuilt itself until I felt I was just as quick and sharp as I had ever been. Still, something remained missing. Prior to becoming ill, I had an unquenchable need to create. The artist in me that had previously refused to be silenced, was nowhere to be found. I thought I could simply dive back into my manuscripts and it would be like getting back on a bike. A half a dozen times, I committed to myself and readers to release the follow up books to Search For Yesterday, only to find myself incapable of sustaining the required effort for such an endeavor. For those unfulfilled promises, I beg your understanding and forgiveness.
In 2017, I realized I hadn’t received any book royalties in some time. What I found out, was that the owner and CEO of my publisher had embezzled clients funds and had been imprisoned while the twenty-plus lawsuit and bankruptcy was being settled. Because I submitted the claim for my book files late, some months later, I was informed that they were unrecoverable and I would have to reproduce my book from my earlier manuscripts, which is what we have done.
I wonder if I shouldn’t be thankful for the loss of my files, as having to fight and re-engage in the publishing process lit a fire in me, stimulating that thing that springs from somewhere within, to create and express. I found myself imagining again, thinking up new storylines and scenarios to write about.
Today, more than a decade after my initial decline, I am alive with creative fire, loving every minute I get to imagine, write, or talk about my writing with someone. I’m beyond excited about re-releasing Search For Yesterday, with some minor additions and corrections to the original text. I am also thrilled with the prospect of readers who have clamored to know more about “Kid’s” origin, about his family and events which led to his condition through most of the book, finally getting to fill in the voids “Kid” couldn’t remember. Deacon Wells books I – IV do just that in an endearing, yet exciting saga which pre-dates, shares a simultaneous time line with, and eventually concludes on the AA Ranch in the mountains of southern Colorado, only days after the ending of Search For Yesterday’s story.
Thank you to those of you have waited and continued to believe in me during my absence, and thank you new readers for joining us. I promise you will love the stories and characters we are about to release. I hope this has been informative and not too laborious to read. I just thought that you deserved a truthful explanation.
Until next time, be kind, be respectful, be patient, not only to others, but to yourself as well.