Cliffie Coates
Engineer Turned 

Emerys Treasure

In the event Google has directed you here instead of to my Amazon sales page, please click here to purchase "The Tale of Emerys Treasure."  

(Alert:  Contains Spoilers)

Well, to be honest, I never really planned on writing a novel, at least not before Fall 2011. During my one-semester sojourn into grad school (for more on this subject see the About tab), I began to feel frustrated with my graduate-level environmental science classes. By early October of 2011, one of my classes had started to remind me of everything I didn't enjoy about studying engineering: mind-numbing equations and hours of MatLab programming (::shudders::).
One day while surfing the web in the Science & Engineering library, I stumbled upon this article. (For those of you who don't want to read it, the article advocates doing what you love for a career.) As I read it, I realized that I hadn't really enjoyed what I did, either in school or at work, for a long time. It also put the bug in my ear about the possibility of being a writer. That same month I attended a Weird Al Yankovich concert with a couple friends. Shortly thereafter, I read that Weird Al’s parents had advised him to do what he loved, and that the money would follow (by the way, his degree is architecture, not music). About that same time I learned that Steve Jobs had refused to leave the computer business, even after he had been fired from Apple, the company he founded, because he absolutely loved it. Also, radio commentator Rush Limbaugh also advised to do what you love for a career, even though it took him sixteen years before he became successful.
With all this advice in mind, I sat down and asked myself what I wanted to do. I had studied engineering and no longer enjoyed it.  I had worked in the engineering profession and no longer enjoyed it.  Environmental science grad school seemed like Engineering 2.0. So, with all these people advising "me" to do what I loved, I decided to sit down and write a novel. Mind you, I hadn't written a story for fun since fifth or sixth grade. In fact, the last story I had written at all had been for my Introduction to Creative Writing class ten years earlier. So, I sat on my bed, with paper in hand, and started to write a novel.
You're probably thinking that this story was "The Tale of Emerys Treasure." Well, you'd be mistaken. I wrote about twenty hand-written pages of a novel about three people in their late twenties whose lives hadn't worked out the way they wanted. After I worked on it for a couple weeks on-and-off, I decided it was horrible and thankfully stopped writing it.
I started writing “The Tale of Emerys Treasure” in December 2011, but in a way the roots of this story began a year earlier. In the fall of 2010, while I was still working as an engineer, one day after work a colleague told me how her daughter dragged her off to see a certain popular vampire movie. As someone who enjoys fantasy, but had neither read nor knew much about this particular movie series, I asked my colleague how it was. She proceeded to describe the plot, which we both thought was cheesy and laughed. Over the next few months, her daughter read the books upon which the movies were based and watched the rest of the movies, and at work my colleague would tell me about the sappy dialogue and plot elements.  All this made me curious as to whether these movies were quite as my colleague described them, so in the spring of 2011 I finally watched the first of these sappy vampire movies. (Note:  If you wish to skip this commentary, please click here.)  The basic action scenes were fine, and the whole werewolf/vampire plot was interesting enough, but the romantic dialogue was so sappy I laughed aloud. (Fortunately, I watched this by myself, so as to not annoy anyone.)

Skipping ahead six months to November/December 2011:  I was reading criticisms of said vampire books online when I came across this blog article. In places it's funny and points out some of the problems with the series.  (To be honest, I still don't understand the obsession with that series.  Before you think it’s because I’m a guy, let me say that I know several women who are just as clueless as me about it.) In the comments at the bottom of the blog, somebody wrote that after reading it that they might write their own novel, since they thought they could do a better job.  As I sat at my computer, the thought occurred to me that I could write a better novel than this sappy vampire story", as I believe could most people. (By the way, notice that I say “write a better novel than this sappy vampire story" not “write a better novel than its author,” since I truly hope this series is not the best that she can write – she has a degree in English after all.  And I sincerely have tried to read this series - only to be stopped by the dialogue.)
 I apologize if anyone is offended by what I have just written or if it comes across as arrogant.  On a serious note, I don’t wish to offend anyone, I personally despise arrogance, and the idea of laughing at another writer’s work actually makes me feel bad.  However, the inspiration for “The Tale of Emerys Treasure” really was the belief that I (along with most people) could write a better novel than this sappy vampire story.  Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to write me and let me know whether you feel I have succeeded.  Then again, perhaps I have nothing for which to apologize.  Maybe the author of this series intended for the dialogue to be so cheesy that people would groan and, if she ever reads this, will be glad that her novel is finally “understood.”  If I ever receive confirmation from her, I will let you know.  :)
In the middle of December, I was working on a paper for one of my environmental science classes which involved reading several technical reports.  Well, my brain didn’t want to focus on them, so I started thinking how I could write a better novel than the aforementioned one.  I liked the concept of a person falling in love with someone who has a special power (which was not an idea original to that novel) while the rest of the world has no idea about this person’s abilities.  I’m not much into vampires, but the idea of a mermaid popped into my head.  While I was supposed to be working on my paper, I jotted down some notes and outlined the basic idea of Emerys Treasure.  Once my graduate classes were finished, I started writing Emerys Treasure.
 It wasn’t too long before I realized that I didn’t remember much from my Introduction to Creative Writing class from ten years before, and that I had little idea of how to write fiction (some of you may still think that’s the case!).  So, in the spring of 2012 I enrolled in a couple creative writing classes, which did delay my progress on Emerys Treasure but greatly improved my ability to write fiction.  Throughout the rest of 2012, I finished writing Emerys Treasure and then went back and corrected all the problems and sappy dialogue that I had written.  (All writers, at least of which I am aware, write some sappy dialogue in the first draft, and I wrote at least my fair share of it.)
 And that, my dear reader, is the (behind-the-scenes) story of Emerys Treasure!  ~Cliffie

P.S.  Here I am discussing my novel with Channel 10 out of Roanoke!  (My thanks to them for having me on their show.)  :)

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