This guest blog originally appeared on Andi’s Book Reviews
There are many things about me fans may not know. However, I don’t want fans to know everything about me, either, so I’ll stick in this article to stuff about me I don’t mind sharing.
The first one is that my most successful book is one my fans have probably never read, or, if they did, they didn’t know I wrote it. The book sold 50,000 copies, and it was famous for a while. I wrote it under a pen name, which I won’t disclose, and it was an erotic novel. My then-agent wanted me to write more, but I declined. My first daughter had just been born, and I didn’t want her growing up and asking me one day, “What kind of books do you write, dad?” And me answering, “I write erotic books, honey.”
So, I didn’t write any more erotic books.
The second thing my fans may not know about me, since I have published eleven novels and several of them have earned literary awards, is that English is my second language. I’m an immigrant myself, which helped me identify with the characters when writing THE WALL. I was a penniless nineteen-year-old non-English speaker when I arrived in America, clutching my immigration papers. While that happened a long time ago, I have never forgotten those early memories. I came to the United States seeking the American Dream: to be successful and have a better life than the one I had in my country of birth.
And I have.
My life has been a fantastic rollercoaster ride. I have been a millionaire three times, and three times I have lost everything and had to start with nothing all over again. I have been married several times to lovely and awesome women from different countries, including a French aristocrat who introduced me to European nobility, that gave me five beautiful children. I have traveled worldwide on business and pleasure to more than thirty countries, including those described in THE WALL. I have earned three college degrees: English Literature, Mathematics, and an MBA. I have lived in six different countries and learned four languages, including those spoken in the book. I have competed in show jumping, equestrian events, and track and won multiple medals and ribbons. And I have done a lot of crazy but fulfilling things too: race sports cars, jump obstacles higher than Michael Jordan on horseback, ride racing camels in the Arabian desert, and a few other things that bring smiles to my lips but that I will never share with anyone because I’m not the kiss-and-tell type.
Perhaps the most revealing thing about me, and possibly the most unexpected, is that I’m a cowboy at heart. I love the cowboy ideal, whether real or not—honesty, loyalty, and courage. In my teens, I dreamed of running away to Canada and becoming a cowboy. I still dream of owning a ranch with horses and cattle and living a cowboy life.
Who knows, now that my youngest daughter is going away to college, I may just do that. I love the smell of horse sweat in the morning.