By Liz Confiliano
Fort Worth author Colin Holmes’ writing career began with a story for an elementary school assignment. Seemed like a good start, but it took him until he was 60 to get his first novel published.
In between was a career creating advertising for boots, Blizzards and electronics.
“There’s an old saying that a professional writer is just an amateur who never quit,” Holmes says. “I’m a little stubborn and I enjoy coming up with characters and putting them in interesting situations.”
And now, finally, his novel Thunder Road is being released and will be available Feb. 15 everywhere books are sold.
Thunder Road is filled with interesting situations. Set along Fort Worth’s notorious Jacksboro Highway in the summer of 1947, the story follows former cop Jefferson Sharp from chasing cattle rustlers to a fledgling business as a private eye searching for an Army Air Force officer who’s gone missing from his top-secret job at the Fort Worth airbase.
“I wanted to make post-WWII Fort Worth one of the characters in the book and tried to evoke the feel of the nightclubs and gambling halls that lit up Highway 199 in its heyday,” said Holmes, who works as Communications Director for electronics distributor TTI, Inc.
Thunder Road began life as a screenplay – Holmes is a graduate of UCLA’s screenwriting program – but it proved more complex than a two-hour movie could accommodate. So the movie became a novel and evolved across a decade of drafts, rewrites and workshopping through the DFW Writers Workshop.
“I pitched it to dozens of agents and publishers, but what finally caught an editor’s eye was a tweet,” Holmes said.
Successfully distilling his 85,000-word novel into a 240-character tweet led to a contract with Nashville’s CamCat Publishing and another year of rewrites and tweaks before Thunder Road made its way along the road to publication.
Holmes says his journey shows that when you keep doing what you enjoy, eventually it can get you someplace good. Even if it takes 60 years.