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Chandler McGrew 

I started writing at a very young age on an old portable typewriter my maiden aunt loaned me. While other kids were playing baseball or horseback riding I remained inside the cool living room on the Texas farm of my grandparents making up terrible stories that made no sense but which DID have a plot. The only one I can recall had to do with a world war in which only kids around my age (something like eight or nine) took part. I cannot recall how I worked out the logistics of that, but I was already into sci-fi and the genre of that period wasn’t heavily into hard facts or science. I give you one of my favorites, Cities in Flight.

I continued writing into high school when for four years I authored a very satirical Art Buchwald style column in the school paper, much to the chagrin of my English teacher and principal. We were blessed however with two journalism teachers who indulged my more liberal fantasies. Bless them.

About this time I was introduced to the Hippie movement. I became enamored of wine, women, and song (among a great many other pleasures I will not enumerate), and my writing—other than some very bad poetry—fell by the wayside. I worked as a sheetrocker, a carpenter, and on and off for several years made a very poor living doing a single country-rock show in bars from Houston to Boulder to Seward and Indian, Alaska. It was there that I met my wife, Irene, and fell in love, and she will tell you that I have never closed a show or put down my guitar without lastly singing, Good Night Irene.


For years I would pick up pen and paper and start something I never finished and then let it slide again until around 1992 I read my first Dean Koontz novel called the Bad Place and my life was changed. The book was like nothing I’d ever read (and made me a life-long Dean Koontz fan). I turned to Rene and said, “I can write like this.”


“I know you can, Honey,” she replied and went back to her tv show.


I purchased an electric type-writer and paper, and carbon paper—Google it for god’s sake—and began work on my first novel. I also wrote a business plan in which I would write for three hours a night and expected to be published and self supporting within three years. I bought every book I could get my hands on on editors, agents, writing, you name it and read them vociferously. And I submitted. For eight years I averaged at least one submission a week to agents and editors. Somewhere around here I still have three-hundred rejections. I also garnered and ran through three agents and wrote nearly twenty never-published books. I always figured that after fifty rejections—when I put a particular novel aside and began another—that somewhere another author was tossing the next great novel in a drawer and I had one less competitor.


My average time spent on a thriller was six months. Cold Heart I wrote in thirty days. I jerked the last page out of the printer (I’d moved on to computers by then Hallelujah) ran out into the living room clutching it and told Rene, “I think I’ve written a bestseller!”


“I’m sure you have, Honey,” she said, and went back to her show.


I don’t mean this to sound as though Rene is unsupportive. She went through over twenty years of me spending hours a night like a hermit while she watched the kids or went to work. Stephen King said something to the effect that any man published knew what it was like to have a good woman behind him because they could not have done it alone. I heartily concur.


Anyway, Cold Heart started me on my road to being a published author, and I never looked back. Thank you Micky and all the other wonderful characters who have come to life to entertain me and a lot of fans.

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