Becoming A Published Author – Chapter 7

Becoming A Published Author

Agony and Ecstasy of Writing a Book

By Evan and Lois Swensen

Chapter Seven

How Turtle in a Racehorse World Began

Kati Dahlstrom


I was upset about my life one day, and my mom told me to start writing a book. I wanted to start writing one anyway because I felt that it was not just my life and disabilities that needed to be addressed, but that others with disabilities felt the same way I do. So it soon became a mission of mine. I had a lot to say, so I figured that I would pour out my heart, even if afterward I wondered why I had written it in the first place.

The venting process started in 2004 and took more than four months to complete. Then the real work began! The venting had to be sorted, sentence by sentence, topic by topic, and chapter by chapter, to figure out what was worth keeping. My mom helped me with that. We had to decide what the gems were, and what was just gravel. From time to time, I got confused, thinking that the gravel was the gems that needed to be kept. Mom used plenty of humor and patience to help me see the difference.

Thank heavens for computers with the Cut and Paste feature! I learned more and more about myself, what was a real concern, and what was a temporary upset. I can honestly say that I see things a lot more positively now. I loved writing my book and feeling like I might make a difference in other people’s lives. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that it took so blasted long in between the writing, the organizational process, the editing, and the publishing—more than four years! Now I understand all too well the frustrations other authors feel.

The first part of this book is about my life, frustrations, and feelings. The second part contains some of my favorite writing projects from over the years. I plan to continue with my writing because once I start a project, there are so many ideas going through my head that I can’t wait to share.

I dedicated my book like this: To God, for giving me the inspiration; To my mom, for helping me with the editing, which took a great amount of patience and time; To my dad, for his dedication to his work and support during the long haul; To Jeff, Colter, Janean, Jennalee, Danny, Weston, and Savanna, for giving me encouragement to carry on; To my extended family and friends who helped me with this project; To my teachers, my heroes, and all who have never given up on me; To the many doctors and other health professionals who have helped me throughout my life; And to my dogs, Libby and Shadow, for their constant love and companionship until the very end of their lives.

A special thanks goes out to Special Olympics and the ACE program for helping me realize my true potential and have a future if I am willing to work for it.

Writing this book has been an absolute joy for me, but it took lots of soul searching and perseverance. It has taught me a lot. I hope those of you who read it will feel the same way.

Evan, who lives in Anchorage, has 9 children, 25 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren. As a pilot, he has logged more than 4,000 hours of flight time in Alaska, in both wheel and float planes. He is a serious recreation hunter and fisherman, equally comfortable casting a flyrod or using bait, or lures. He has been published in many national magazines and is the author of four books.