By AK Dale
ELK GROVE, Calif. – Three published books into the process of becoming an author of note and Steven P. Unger feels as though he’s been doing this for a lot longer.
Saying it feels sometimes as though he’s been writing “since the Big Bang” the California resident is a full-time author who appears to have found his niche despite knowing what path he would take since many years ago.
“I always knew I would be a writer and first words were an entire sentence,” Unger said. “I wrote when I was high and when I came crashing down. I wrote down my dreams. I wrote verbal photographs of the people I saw on the subway and the benches of Needle Park, in the rain forests of California and the glacial moraine where Vlad the Impaler built his brooding fortress. When I write, my experiences become real for me.”
Just hearing some of the tales Unger shares would make one guess the man to be an author. Not only are his ideas so vivid, but so are his realities, especially en route to his path of becoming an author.
“In college I listened to a visiting professor read Chaucer in Middle English in a voice that evoked Frodo and Gandalf,” Unger said. “Another professor had organized the Tuskegee Boycott less than a decade before to fight for the right of local black people to register to vote. I smoked hash with a French professor who rambled in a Haitian patois and listened to tales of sideshows and rodeos from a craggy Shakespearean scholar. It wasn’t the degrees that helped me to be a writer it was the experiences that led to the degrees.”
His writing has led to many positive moments despite being pulled into some of the highs and lows a new author experiences.
“I love to write, and I need to write whether anyone else ever reads my words,” Unger said. “I get a kick when someone tells me that something I wrote has changed their lives, but I hate my own ingratitude, obsessing over sales when for years I never thought I’d see my name on the cover of a book.”
Two of the more important women in his life has also encouraged Unger to keep moving forward.
“My mother has always believed in me as a writer, and my fiancée Paula has introduced me to the mysteries of empathy, which helps both my own character and the creation of more human make-believe characters,” Unger said.
When he does write, Unger uses one consistent mode of motivation.
“Q lot of my novel Dancing in the Streets was written with Daniela Mercury or Angelique Kidjo singing in the background,” Unger said.
When he isn’t listening to music and writing he is spending time with fiancée Paula or traveling, working on yard projects, hiking, and biking.
The man with three books – In the Footsteps of Dracula: A Personal Journey and Travel Guide, Before the Paparazzi: 50 Years of Extraordinary Photographs, and Dancing in the Streets, does hope for success while sharing some of the stories that have played a part in him getting to this point.
“I’d like to see my novel take off,” Unger said. “Even if I’m not the only person to have survived the kind of experiences I had and still be intact enough to write about them—Keith Richards’ Life comes to mind. I like to fantasize that Dancing in the Streets is my generation’s A Moveable Feast.”
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