I’ve always believed that each of us has a story to tell. Since high school, I wanted to write a book. However, the subject, genre, and even the story never developed until I closed the door of my office and wrote the first line. This did not occur until I was in my 40’s. Like any story, the author must have some motive to push us over the edge and start writing. Mine arrived in the form of motivation, seeking the way out of a failing technology business and a need to escape all that can go wrong with a small company.
In the fall of 2009, I found myself in the most difficult position I had ever faced. I had started a gear and technology business years earlier and by 2008 had developed and patented a unique technology. This led to a multimillion dollar distribution contract between my small company and a public company out of Dallas, Texas.
I had trusted this company, signed a contract that laid out the deal, shaken hands, and celebrated with them over nice wine and dinner. However, unbeknownst to me, they had a plan in place that would eventually lead to the destruction of my company.
By the end of 2009, things started smelling funny as they piled up excuse after excuse why they would not pay us. I asked for mediation, according to the contract’s terms, but they refused. In the end, they wanted a contract that allowed for them to control our product without assuming any risk. This is not what we had negotiated almost two years earlier, and not something I was willing to give at the time. The result was that my company was running on fumes and I knew I’d be forced to lay off staff, sell assets, and shut the doors. I loved my employees and this became a horrible period in my life, not to mention the loss of significant investment. I needed to find something uplifting.
I’ve always loved fly-fishing and found the hours alone in the Colorado wilderness to be the perfect, thoughtful place to sort through my life. Alone on the river, I had considered losing my mom and how my father dealt with her death years ago. As it turns out, this set the roots of the story I had to write.
America is the greatest place in the world to live and do business, but it is not perfect. To pursue justice, I had to take another large financial chance; legal costs are not cheap and just to be heard, I would need to spend over $100,000 to bring my case forward in the judicial system. However, I concluded I could not live with myself if I simply let them walk away without owning up to what they had done. It’s the bet they never thought I would take, and they were almost right.
In the depths of closing my business and filing the law suit, I closed my office door, sat down, and wrote the line: ‘Sarah Field lives in a world of colors.’ Eventually, this became my book, The Colors of Blue. When I finished, I shared it with family and friends, cleaned things up a bit, and let it settle onto my shelf. On November 18, 2013, I published The Colors of Blue on Amazon.
The trial began in Dallas, Texas on the 2nd of December, 2013. I was the key witness and spent three and one half days on the stand. As these things go, I would not land on my pillow until after midnight for each of the sixteen days of trial. Needless to say, it was exhausting. However, aside from my wife and family, there was one bright light that awaited me each evening. This was to look through the email and the Amazon reviews of those who had read my book. Those turned out to be both affirming and positive, seeing that others were finding joy in something that had been such a positive experience to create. The Colors of Blue has 41 reviews on Amazon as I write this and is a 4.5 star rating.
On the 19th of December, 2013, we had rested our case. This meant that we could no longer call any witnesses. However, the defense paraded three more onto the stand that all had the same, canned, message, they would never do anything as sinister as cheating another company. All fingers were pointed at me and my employees and that, if there were any problems, they were due to us.
On the 30th of December, the jury found the company guilty of fraud and awarded my small company compensation. The end of the trial was the final chapter for my business but the process brought forth my first novel, The Colors of Blue.
Finding writing so rewarding, I’ve stepped fully into my second novel. I’ve roughed the story in and am concentrating on how everything unfolds. For me, this is where the real art of writing is found. Each scene must have meaning and purpose, allowing the reader to discover the story alongside the main characters, yet also providing the audience critical insight as if they are flies on the wall. The wrong dose and the story is too predictable or perhaps just confusing.
I suppose an exceptional writer could tell the same story two different ways, unfolding the scenes to the readers differently and still keep the same audience captivated. I’m not this writer now, but know the road to perfection has no end. I hope those who pick up The Colors of Blue get lost in the story and also that they find I have advanced when they read my current project.
The Colors of Blue is Lance McCulloch’s first novel. He wrote this novel as a way to cope with the loss of his parents. He lost his mother to cancer and then his father in the crash of Egypt Air 990 in 1999.