Once upon 2012, I was getting NOWHERE as a novelist. So I decided to scrap the novel-writing quest for a while and focus on writing short stories. I figured it would give me a chance to establish a writing routine, improve my storytelling ability and build my confidence as a writer.
I thus set up a blog, convinced about a dozen people to read the stories I posted and began writing. And that’s when my buddy Kyle started harassing me. “You should write a story about dragons,” he would say.
I would roll my eyes and dismiss the idea. Why would I want to write a story about creatures that didn’t exist? Made no sense.
I carried on writing my sensible stories. He carried on pestering me about dragons. Then another friend began telling me I should write a story about cops.
I finally realized the only way to get these guys to stop nagging me was to do what they asked; then I could get back to writing about what I wanted to write about.
In February 2012, I wrote a short story entitled, “Cops, Robbers…and Dragons?”
The main character was Darcy, a bestselling author in search of an idea for her second book. To find an idea, she went on a ride-along with a police officer.
In the process of the story, Darcy and the officers come across some Dragon Stalkers who hail from the Land of Zandador and are hiding out on earth. At the end of the story, Darcy decides she’s going to write about these Dragon Stalkers, and I decided I would use her name as my pen name if I ever wrote a book about dragons. That’s where the “D” in my pen name D.K. Drake comes from.
It turns out I had a lot of fun writing the story, and my friends had fun reading it. One friend even read it to her daughter’s sixth grade class, and they loved it.
I realized I had a good idea for a novel on my hands, so I decided to develop my fantasy world a little more in depth. I just had two rules: God had to be the Creator of my world, and no magic—no witches, wizards, spells, that kind of thing.
I also needed to sketch out a map of my world, but I’m a terrible artist. Fortunately a friend of mine is a great artist, so she offered to come over and draw for me. She came over in August of 2012 with a piece of poster board and pencil and drew what I described. She also asked questions along the way and helped me clarify a lot of things.
Then as I wrote, she designed the cover of my book. My jaw dropped when I saw it. That was my dragon! The dragon I saw in my mind was now in living color on the page! Incredible. I wanted to let Kim know how much I appreciated her help, so the “K” in D.K. stands for Kimberly.
As for Drake, it’s easy to say and spell, picks up the D and K sounds, and rhymes with the nickname my Dad gave me as a kid: Flake, a nickname that reminds me to let my imagination soar the way it did when I was a kid.
The underlying reason I chose to write as D.K. Drake is to keep me humble. Rather than get caught up in the fun of seeing my name in print, I want to stay focused on using the gifts God has given me to bring glory to Him. If I can do that, then I’m successful, no matter how many books I sell.
It took me a year of off and on writing to complete the manuscript, then it took me another ten months to work up the courage to publish it.
I finally got fed up with myself for being too scared to take a risk and publish the story. I realized I could sit and wonder for the rest of my life if I was any good at this writing thing, or I could take a leap of faith and try. If I was leaping in the wrong direction, I knew I could count on God to catch and correct me. But He wouldn’t be able to correct my course if I kept standing still, paralyzed by my fears and doubts. So on June 17, 2014, I leapt.
I published The Dragon Collector on Kindle.
Then strange things started happening. People I didn’t know started finding it and buying it. It was supposed to live in oblivion until I started promoting it, but Amazon started promoting it for me. As a result, I have now reached thousands of people with this story.
I also started getting requests for an old-fashioned, hold-in-your-hands, flip-through-the-pages version of the book, so I did some research and decided to go with Amazon’s printing service to publish my book.
It took several months and many proof copies to get the formatting right, but I was finally able to offer the paperback version for sale in November 2014.
Writing book two presented its own challenges, but I was pleased with the final version of The Dragon Hunter that was published in March 2016.
Now I’m working on book three, The Dragon Protector. I’ll be releasing the first 20 chapters on this blog until it’s published in December 2018.
I am thankful for each and every person who has bought these books. I am thankful for my friends and family who believed in me even on days I didn’t. And I’m especially thankful to God for giving me the opportunity to write as well as the opportunity to publish my own stories.
I still have a lot to learn and a long way to go, but because of God, my family and friends, I sure am enjoying the journey.