When authors first set out to write a book, they usually act like sponges. They go to former teachers, writing groups, anywhere to get some feedback on their first foray into the writing world.
When it comes to local author R.C. Wagner, that wasn’t the case. Wagner filled the creative void after a music career and went in solo, not wanting anyone to change the voice that he was developing.
Almost a year after he started, his first book, “Silver Spoons and Paper Plates,” is finally available, and offers a peak into the creative brain of a former musician turned author.
Wagner just finished writing his first book, and loved the process so much he decided to start working on his second. With the process of writing these books coming so easily to Wagner, you would think that this is something he always wanted to do. That couldn’t be further from the truth.
Wagner considers himself a creative person who spends time on the fringes of society. He was raised in Titusville, and lived in the City until he was 19. Then Wagner moved to Pittsburgh, where he decided that he wanted a musical career.
For the next decade Wagner and his various bands played all types of music — punk, heavy metal, all the music you might think of when you see a guy with tattoos and gauges in his ears.
After spending a decade trying to make it in the music scene, and burning plenty of bridges along the way, Wagner decided it was time to get out. He was one of the few who survived that phase and lived to tell about it.
He moved back to Titusville, had children, got married and started working a “regular” job. “Music wasn’t something I really wanted to pursue anymore,” said Wagner. “I was burned out and had to raise a family.”
Wagner lived in Titusville without a creative outlet for 10 years. One day he thought he might have a good idea for something, and sat down at the computer. He came up for air later that afternoon and he had the first 15 pages of a book.
“This was an accident,” said Wagner. “It really just fell out of my head.”
His book, “Silver Spoons and Paper Plates,” is also about outlaws, people who live on the edge of society. The story is built around a woman who has a stroke, and can no longer talk and communicate.
Something similar happened to someone close to Wagner and his wife, and throughout the process he couldn’t help but think “Wow, this would be a good book.”
It took Wagner just six months to write 322 pages. “This was not something I ever thought I had the patience to do,” he said.
Wagner said that when he writes, he just disappears into the paper. However, that motivation and creative juices never really follow a schedule. To make sure that this was something he could actually see through, he did have to come up with some rules.
Wagner decided that he needed to write at least two pages a day. Some days that was easier than others.
“You can wake up one day and think, ‘What am I going to do, what am I going to write,’” he said. On those days, Wagner needs peace and quiet. With three kids at home, that isn’t always possible.
Wagner currently works as a janitor for Pitt Titusville, in one of the quietest spots on campus — the library.
“I really started writing during my breaks at work,” said Wagner. The library was quiet, and while he was working he would work through the plot points and dialogue in his head.
Once he was able to go on break, he would empty all of those thoughts onto the page.
“I’d vacuum here, write some pages, then clean a toilet,” he said.
After months of writing when he could, Wagner finally had a finished book — something he never thought was even possible when he started out.
“It was very surreal when I first saw the cover and my name was on it. It didn’t seem real,” he said. Wagner was never able to have a successful music career, and hopes that things will go differently for his writing career.
Wagner’s book can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and his publisher, Page Publishing as a physical copy. Wagner is also currently in the process of getting the book on Itunes and Google Play Store as an E-book.
Dvorkin can be reached by email at Gdvorkin@titusvilleherald.com.