Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Author Ethan Cross: Why I Love Stories

I’d like to welcome author Ethan Cross as the special guest blogger here today as he virtually tours blogdom with the release of his first novel.

Ethan’s thriller/suspense novel, THE SHEPHERD, was recently published by The Fiction Studio. Here’s a brief synopsis of the book: “Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. both have a talent for hurting people. Marcus, a former New York City homicide detective, uses his abilities to protect others, while Ackerman uses his gifts to inflict pain and suffering. When both men become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of our government, Marcus finds himself in a deadly game of cat and mouse trapped between a twisted psychopath and a vigilante with seemingly unlimited resources. Aided by a rogue FBI agent and the vigilante’s beautiful daughter -a woman with whom he’s quickly falling in love- Marcus must expose the deadly political conspiracy and confront his past while hunting down one of the most cunning and ruthless killers in the world.”

Ethan stopped by to talk about “Why I love stories…”

Telling stories on a grand scale has been my dream for as long as I can remember. When a fireman or a policeman would come visit my school, most of my classmates’ heads would swim with aspirations of growing up and catching bad guys or saving someone from a blazing inferno. When these moments came for me, however, my dreams weren’t to someday be a cop or put out fires; I just wanted to make a movie or write a book about it. And my dream has come to fruition with the release of my first book, THE SHEPHERD.

But to what can I attribute my undying love of stories?
It started as early as I can remember. I wasn’t an only child, but
since my three sisters are so much older than I am, it felt that way growing up. I’ve always been an introvert and my favorite pastime as a young boy was playing pretend with my action figures and my imaginary friends (as my parents called them). But I’m not sure if they were truly the imaginary friends that we traditionally think of. I say this because they were more like characters in my own little movies. At the time, it was a boy playing with his imaginary friends, but I still do basically the same thing as an adult, only my imaginary friends find life on the pages of my books.

I’ve also been an ENORMOUS fan of movies since I was very young. How many ten-year-olds do you know that had a calendar hanging on their wall marking the release dates of every major Hollywood production? I would force my parents to take me to sometimes two or three movies in a single weekend. We would often hit the 4:30 matinee at the theater, walk out, and drive straight over to get a good spot at the drive-in or turn around and walk back into a 7 o’clock showing at the same theater. In high school, I would rent a couple of movies every night from our local video store, although I did still find time to date, sing and play guitar in a rock band, play sports, and serve as our senior class president and valedictorian. Not much has changed since then; my wife and I still take in a movie every weekend. Shortly after college, I also discovered a great love for reading, sometimes consuming three to four books a week. For me, movies and books have always been and always will be magical experiences. But still the question remains. Why?

I think there are many reasons, but I’m going to touch on two in particular for the sake of this article. The first of these is probably very unique and personal to me. The second is why I feel the entertainment industry exists in the first place.

The first, very personal reason is that the only time that my brain truly “shuts off” is during a great movie or book. What do I mean by that? The easiest way to describe it is that a thousand small televisions are constantly playing within my head. Imagine the giant wall filled with flat screens that you can find within most Las Vegas casinos, the ones that are playing all the sporting events and horse races. Now imagine that wall behind your eyes. That’s kind of what it's like for me. This example may be slightly exaggerated, but it gives you a basic idea of the concept. It’s not something that keeps me from functioning in any way, and I’ve learned to ignore most of the screens and focus on the real world around me, but it can be tiring. For some reason, when I’m sitting in a movie theater or reading a great book, the rest of the world and all of those other screens disappear.

The second big reason that I love stories is one that I think many others share with me: stories allow us to escape. They allow us for a few moments to be the hero, to get the girl, to save the day, to fall in love all over again or for the first time. Let’s face it, most of us live pretty ordinary lives. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; I’m glad that no one is trying to kill me as I’m writing this and the world isn’t being overrun by hordes of alien parasites or flesh-eating zombies or the multitude of other bad things that often happen in books and movies. But isn’t it cool that we live in a world where we can pull back the curtain and experience a glimpse of what it would be like as an FBI profiler, a fireman, a lone assassin, a special forces commando, or the President of the United States. We only get to experience life through our own very limited perception, but through the magic of stories, we can become other people. We can stand on the outside and look in on a world of endless possibilities, and we can do so from the comfort of our own homes.

That’s why, for me anyway, stories truly are magical.

Ethan, thanks so much for guest blogging today. I agree with you, stories truly are magical. I love the fact books give us the chance to visit other places and times from the comfort of our homes.

Now about Ethan. Ethan Cross is the pen name of a thriller author living and writing in Illinois with his wife, two daughters, and two Shih Tzus. For more information about Ethan, you can visit his website at

What about you, do you think books are magical? What about the movies?


  1. Ethan, thanks again for guest blogging. It's always interesting to find out why and what drives a author to write. Wishing you much success with your writing.

  2. Mason - Thanks for hosting Ethan.

    Ethan - I think the enjoyment of stories, and telling those stories, is an essential part of being a talented writer. It makes complete sense to me that your writing springs from that. I wish you much success with The Shepherd.

  3. I've always thought books were magical. I've always loved going on adventures and books provide that for me. I've always told stories too. I'm part of a family of nine kids and we told stories to each other to entertain. Sometimes we had a planning session to create the next day's pretend adventure.

    I totally understand the concept of screens, Ethan, and filtering them out for real life. Been there, doing that.

    Wishing you the best with The Shepherd!

  4. Yes! Someone else who thinks movies rock and can inspire.

  5. Thanks, Mason, for introducing me to Ethan. This looks like a book that would interest me, so I'm heading right now to his website.
    Ann Carbine Best’s Long Journey Home


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.