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  • Writer's pictureDylan Roche

Reflections After a Year as a Published Novelist

Updated: Feb 5, 2021

This post was originally published on my old blog in January 2020 and has been republished here for posterity.


There's a part in my book The Purple Bird, fairly early in the story, where my titular character Archit sits down with his human friends to fill them in on his background...where he grew up, what happened to his human caretaker he considered his father, how he came to be cursed by his evil uncle.

This long-winded exposition from Archit takes place at a picnic table along the bike trail. The scene is late on a Friday night after his teenage friends have just run away from a cocktail party where their parents are. But before they can set off on their quest to the land of Nalgorida, Archit has to fill them in.

It felt appropriate that the place in my hometown that inspired that setting in my story was where I recently sat down for an interview with a local reporter to talk about my writing career. The article, "Around the Park: From news to novels for Severna Park writer," explores not only what inspired The Purple Bird and how it came together but also my other writing pursuits, some of my long-term goals, and my other artistic endeavors that keep me busy.

Being able to tell my own story in the same place where Archit told his made me realize how grateful I am that his story is now available to be read by the world. Yes, I told my story by daylight on a January afternoon, whereas Archit told his in the shadows of a chilly October night, and the weathered picnic tables that were in that spot when I was a teenager have now been replaced by nice bistro tables. But the connection is still there, just as the connection I have with Archit is still there.

A few people have asked me whether I place to continue writing about Archit. Originally, my plan was not to do so. As far as I was concerned, I had told Archit's story, and I was content with the way it wrapped up. But as he observes to James in the closing pages of the book, there are bound to be more adventures ahead of them.

I know that crafting Archit's story was there for me as I came of age. Now that I'm an adult, I'm definitely still trying to figure things out. I mean, who isn't? I love that this article about me makes me sound successful and accomplished and so sure of everything, and while I count my blessings every day that my course is set in the direction that it is, there's still so much to figure out. I figure there always will be.

And you know what? As I do book signings and author presentations, and as I hear from readers about how much they enjoyed book, I realize that Archit is still a major part of my life. He's still here while I figure out adulthood and enjoy all the adventures that come with it.

So what's my point here? Well, first and foremost, it's thankfulness. I'm thankful to have Archit as a part of my creative conscious, and I'm thankful my career has gone the way that it has. Secondly, though no less importantly, I am excited to see what stories come next for Archit, as I think I'll need to keep writing about him. I don't have much of a choice.

Finally, I want to keep my sights set forward. When Archit sat at those picnic tables along the bike trail and shared his past with James, Liz, and Margot, it was so that they could be a part of his adventure that lay ahead. I'm grateful that I got to sit in that same place and reflect on my past that has brought me here, but I never want to forget that the bigger adventure is always yet to come.

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