When I was eight years old, I was adamant that when I grew up, I would become a writer.
From a very early age, I had a habit of inventing fantasy worlds, alternative universes, and invisible friends, as well as stories to accompany these creations. Of course, when the inspiration struck, I would get out my notebook and a pencil to scratch every bit of it down. Sadly, however, the idea of pursuing a professional career as a novelist was not exactly encouraged as I matured, perhaps because the probability of my becoming the next Agatha Christie or J.K. Rowling seemed very out of reach. As a consequence, I put this dream aside for years……and that was far too long.
Eventually, I was able to come to my senses. Over the course of the last five years, West of Hell was my passion project, and it has been incredible to see it as a printed and published novel. Due to the fact that I am in the infant years of what I hope is a lifetime of providing readers a literary escape from reality, the truth is, the publishing world has changed drastically over the last two decades. And it was this knowledge that made me realize I needed to find a way to reach others on multiple platforms, rather than solely concentrating every ounce of my energy on promoting West of Hell.
Journalism, travel blogging, ghost-writing, reviewing…these industries are quite over-saturated, to a degree that even if I were to get a bump of momentum through a well-done piece, it would be short lived. With that in mind, I was brainstorming on a daily basis as to how I might reach a wider audience of people, and then I kid you not, I woke up around 2:30 AM one night with the idea I’d been searching for: a podcast.
This new project was a bright spark that only fueled my drive to continue editing West of Hell for publication, and additionally to make more progress on East of Hell, though the difficult task I had to conquer was what exactly the podcast might focus on. At university, I’d gotten my degree in English literature, and for a time I had seriously debated returning to obtain my Ph.D. to become a college professor. The love I have of novels, of poetry, of writing in almost every avenue is something that stems from the core of who I am, and what I desired above all else was to find a way to connect with others who shared that same passion.
It wasn’t until I was in Cuba following an afternoon at Finca Vigía, the once-home of Ernest Hemingway, that it struck. I was a few mojitos deep with a half-smoked cigar in my hand, explaining some of the controversy behind Hemingway’s life to my husband, when I recall saying aloud: “Maybe I should just tell some of these crazy stories behind writers and their private lives…”
From that moment on, my podcast and my mission were clear: I was going to provide the context we often overlook. We all know their literary works, but how well do we actually know the authors who produced these masterpieces? The answer, I have discovered, is not that well at all, and from the heart of a literary nerd, Legacy: the Artists Behind the Legends was born.
Every week, I spend time gathering roughly ten to fifteen sources both online and through books regarding the writer of the week I have chosen. This also includes a cocktail of the week, inspired by the writer or one of their works, and the dialogue is littered with my distinctive commentary and editorials in an effort to make this less of a history lesson and more of a friendly banter-session by the fire with a smart drink. There is no romanticizing, only a piecing-together of the essentials I’ve uncovered in my research, with discourse that is meant to be familiar, funny, and most importantly, real.
Legacy began as a way to promote my novel and myself, yet as the months have gone by and I am nearing twenty-five episodes, I now cannot imagine my week without it. The concept of what it means to me on a personal level has changed drastically, and while I am at the base of the mountain of where the West of Hell trilogy, Legacy, and Whiskey Emerson can take me, I think the lesson I have learned is never to limit yourself. The options of self-expression are infinite as long as you enjoy what you do and you are willing to work hard…-because at the end of the day, it should not be about how many followers you have, how many readers or listeners you have, or how much money you make, but the satisfaction, happiness, and purpose your art gives you.
Whiskey Emerson, Author of West of Hell
About the Author:
Make sure to purchase your own copy of West of Hell by Whiskey Emerson, the first of an epic historical fiction trilogy.
You can also listen to Whiskey’s commentary on the lives of some of the greatest literary names in history with a themed cocktail on her podcast Legacy: the Artists Behind the Legends.