My name is Dean O'Quinn and I believe the story behind my novels is almost as amazing and interesting as my books themselves. First off, I never meant to become an author and I never dreamt about writing any novels. I grew up with a strong work ethic on a farm in a rural community in Montana and I dreamt about becoming a great athlete or a famous rock musician, because I was involved in many sports and I was also a drummer and vocalist in many small bands. My future looked to be very bright indeed and I was excited for it, but writing never even crossed my mind. This is a long story so I will not bore you with the details and get down to the brass tacks of it all.
I have been cursed by panic disorder and PTSD for the last 31 years after a gang of five men with a baseball bat followed me home and beat me within an inch of my life! I was told by the police that this was an initiation for them to become a gang member. I happened to be the unlucky individual that this group ended up picking out that evening. When the local doctors changed the medications that I had been on and that had worked for nearly 30 years, was when my problems all began. According to doctors, this was for my own good and the betterment of my health. Boy, were they wrong!
My first episode came in 2016 when I had a seizure while driving and gave myself a broken back and my 5th concussion, not to mention a totaled out car, but at least I didn't hurt anyone. My next episode came in 2018 when I fell going into my father's home. My arms were filled with food, because I was caring for him and when I tripped and fell, the first thing to hit the floor at an alarming speed was my forehead. This gave me my 6th concussion, a skull fracture, and some brain damage, which knocked the ability so speak and walk right out of me. This put me into a nursing home that had a transitional center in it and this place felt like a prison to me. I worked hard and was ultimately released in two months time.
I made it two weeks out of this nursing home and then had another horrible fall, because of my unsteadiness. In this case, I protected my head, but that resulted in tearing up my shoulder which had to be surgically replaced by a new, metal shoulder that was a lot weaker than the old one. This event landed me into another nursing home/transitional center for another nine months, or nearly all of 2019.
In this nursing home (which I don't think that many people thought that I would ever get out of) there was a lone communal computer in the library. In a nursing home, most of all of the other residents in this home were in bed by 8:00 P.M. and as a form of physical therapy, I started to get to work on this computer in order to strengthen my arm and keep my mind sharp. I started out by writing about family genealogy, which led me into writing about a knight that was in my family history. A story started to evolve and my voice therapist thought that I could make this story into a book and led me down this path. He was very encouraging, and I truly thank him for that, but my first draft of my first novel was not written very well and I knew that a book would not be ready for this story until I had the time to make it right.
I did finally get out of this nursing home and moved in with my college roommate that lived in a larger city that had the doctors that I needed to visit for better rehabilitation. I lived there for the year of the lockdown of 2020. I could not drive, so I had to rely on taxis in order to get to my many doctors appointments. That meant that I would sit in hospital waiting rooms for up to 4 hours waiting for a ride back to the home. During these waits, I started carrying a yellow legal pad with me and began writing this novel, "The Soldiers Who Ate Rattlesnakes". I would write on this legal pad during the day and would then type out what I had written onto a computer. At the end of the year, I had to move back in and take care care of my father, but this time I had finished writing this novel.
I will not tell you that the novel is perfect in the beginning of it, because when I first started writing, I was still pretty messed up in the mind and it shows in my writing. There are some grammatical errors and the writing can be clunky at times. However, I wanted to put myself out there and I decided to show my progress in my writing abilities. The story is very good and I am very proud of that, but I wanted to show the progression of my personal progress in my writing. What starts out as having errors and is not perfect, truly progresses into a very fine novel, thanks to the progression of myself becoming stronger and more confident in the power of my mind. I didn't give up! I think that means a lot and I see too many people doing that today. I saw too many people just giving up and relying on someone taking care of them for the rest of their lives. I didn't want to be thought of as a victim and I didn't want to live that way! I don't think of my last five years as being inspirational. I just tried to make myself better and survive in order to make my pursuit of happiness a reality. My advise to anyone: Never give up and don't be afraid to transition yourself into something new and fresh. Always fight to become better! Please enjoy and I truly hope that you like my first novel and many more stories that my imagination throws at me. Take Care!