Billy Conder wasn’t sure what to expect when he asked his friends to read his first essay in the literary world.
Their return is evident with his first book.
Conder will be holding a “Stealing Yesterday” book signing from 10 am to noon on Saturday January 8 at the Metropolis Public Library. Copies will be available at the library.
Conder had the idea for “Stealing Yesterday” for about 10 years before he started putting it on paper.
It was his wife, Dawn, who “pushed me to write,” he said. “I told her I had some ideas, and she pushed me to write. I finally made a deal for him to write a short story.
It took about a month to write the 18,000-word short story, which he sent “to 10 of my friends who I thought would actually read it to see what kind of feedback I would get,” Conder said. “Surprisingly, I had very good feedback. Of the ten, eight or nine have read it. I told Dawn that since everyone liked the script, I was going to finish it because everyone kept asking questions.
Along the way, he “bounced all my ideas” Dawn and their daughter Courtney Ryan. And seven months later, at the end of “Stealing Yesterday,” Courtney noticed something familiar.
“Courtney read all of the Nicholas Sparks books, and she told me the ending was kind of like ‘The Notebook,'” said Conder, who never read the Sparks books but watched “The Notebook “to see how he might change. its end. It took two months, but “I like that ending better.”
Conder, from Metropolis, works for the US Army Corps of Engineers as a lock operator. He spent six years at Brookport Lock 52 and has been at Smithland Dam for almost 16 years.
“I guess I’m going to retire from there and keep writing on the side until I run out of ideas,” he said.
He graduated from Joppa High School in 1990 at age 17 and entered the Navy directly. He wasn’t much of a writer or reader at the time.
“I didn’t even like reading in high school,” he said. “My reading came when I was in the Navy, staying at sea for six months. Thirty years ago, we didn’t have an iPod, a computer and all that. Basically people brought VHS tapes with them.
But Conder was working nights – a 12-hour, 7-day work week until they arrived in a port – so he couldn’t join his fellow ships on their movie nights. Instead, “I turned to books and read everything I could get my hands on while we were out at sea. When I got home I picked up all the books that I had. I could and I took them to sea. I went back to school and met my English teacher, and he recommended books to me.
He’s become a fan of “a lot of different stuff” from Stephen King to the mysterious thrillers of Tammy Hogue or Karin Slaughter to the fantasies of Erin Morgenstern – influences, he finds, manifested in his own writing while he did romantic fiction and is working on historical fiction and fantasy.
A Gulf War veteran during the Desert Storm, Conder served in the Navy for four years, working on SH-60B helicopters. Based in Mayport, Florida, he circled the world twice aboard the USS Normandy and the USS McInerney.
“I got to see and do a lot of things, which inspired some things in the book,” he said.
“Stealing Yesterday” “is a” woulda, coulda, shoulda “type book about Robert, a Navy veteran” who is placed in a nursing home by his daughter because she has no time. for him. He befriends a nurse and starts telling her about how he missed out on his one true love and he tries to stop her from making the same mistakes. Through it, it’s his way of mending his past, ”said Conder. “Throughout his life, he pursued this regret where he could not establish the link with this woman. I feel like the older you get, most people have that “I wish I could do something different” in their past. I wanted to connect with people of this level. That’s where I got the idea for the title, “Stealing Yesterday”, because you can’t come back yesterday no matter what you do or how hard you try.
Thanks to Robert, Conder shares his own experiences of the Navy.
“In this book, the stories Robert tells to one of the other residents are actually my stories about what happened in 1991 in the North Atlantic at the Arctic Circle when we were doing boarding operations,” Conder said. “The rest is fiction.”
Conder self-published “Stealing Yesterday” under his full name, William Conder, via Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.
“There are so many options for self-publishing now. Twenty, thirty years ago, I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it, ”he said. “Amazon is an amazing way to go about it. They take care of all the shipping, the printing. They charge a fee when they sell the books, but they don’t charge you for publishing them. It is easy to access to order it.
Conder released “Stealing Yesterday” at the end of September. And after getting his first copies, “I’m excited for the next two,” he said.
After 10 years of “pushing” Conder found his muse unleashed.
“Dawn and Courtney really pushed me to do it. I’m happy now,” he said. “It’s interesting to put you in your characters in the book.”
He is currently working on his second book, “Operation Betty” and is collecting the notes for his third.
“Operation Betty” is a historical fiction with a touch of romance set at the end of World War II. His third will be fantastic.
“I’m everywhere,” he admitted. “I don’t stick to one genre – whatever ideas I have, that’s what I write.”
He keeps these ideas and other notes on his phone and a notebook. Since “most of my ideas come at night,” the notebook has a permanent place by the bed. Conder tries to get 30 pages of notes before he starts writing.
“The way I write is more dialogue first. After that I go back and fill in stuff, ”he said. “I found it weird, but I’ve met other writers who do that too. I see mine more like movie scenes in my head. It didn’t come straight to me – I wrote it all down and then came back and broke everything, edited and sorted everything to see where I wanted to put them in the book. Towards the end (of ‘Stealing Yesterday’) I had to juggle three different scenes to make them fit together properly.
He finds himself working the same way for the covers of the book – seeing the product and realizing it. He opted for the one from “Operation Betty”, which came out exactly as he imagined it.
“I’m excited to get to the third. I have so many possibilities and options for this book, ”said Conder.
It can also have a fourth persistent in the background.
“About six years ago, I actually started trying to write a different book. I said, “I can’t do this,” so I quit, “he said.” I probably have to go back and finish this one. “
Conder returned to JHS on November 5 to see one of his first book readers, Beth Adkins, with whom he attended school and is now a school teaching aide. She asked him to speak to the JHS writing class.
“I try to let the kids know that it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what you’ve done. There were three kids in there who were really interested in writing and asked a lot of questions. Hope they get inspired to push their writing and make something with it, ”he said.
He hopes adults will have the same inspiration.
“I hope that even if there are a few people who see what I have done, it will inspire them. If you have any ideas, go ahead and write them down, ”Conder said. “If I can do it, anyone can do it. Just follow your dreams. In my book, my theme is “Follow Your Heart – Don’t Let It Go, Have No Regrets”. “