Author’s Note: This piece originally appeared on Medium.
After 40 years, I think I’ve finally figured it out.
I’m a self-published author. I’m a motorsports junkie. I’m a relatively new hockey fan and a lifelong baseball nut. My hockey team won the Stanley Cup in 2018 and my baseball team doesn’t look like it’s winning anything any time soon.
Pre-plague, I went to roughly five NASCAR races a year. Every weekend, there are fast cars on my TV. NASCAR, IndyCar, Formula 1, NHRA, IMSA sports cars. If it goes fast and has four wheels, chances are I have at least a passing interest.
Heh, passing. Get it?
Okay, I’ll stop.
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in middle school, when I first discovered the X-Men and then had designs on being the next Jim Lee. The next Todd MacFarlane. But once I got to college, I discovered I was a much better writer than artist. Mostly because majoring in art in college is a surefire way to fall out of love with art.
(Pro tip: if you wanna study art in college, go to an actual art school.)
But I also discovered sports writing. And sportscasting. I spent the latter half of my college days working for the campus newspaper and campus radio station, writing columns and laying out pages and calling basketball and baseball games on the radio (Old Dominion didn’t yet have football when I was there).
So now my day job involves working in college athletics. Writing press releases and handling media inquiries and doing what often feels like entirely too much. I’ve seen my share of NCAA Tournament games and spent more time on buses and planes than I care to admit. But I have a decent ring collection and the pay’s good; it’s helped finance my other writing.
You know, those books I’ve written?
I published my debut novel, Bounty, on June 1, 2015. As of this writing, I have six novels, a short story collection, a non-fiction book, and three anthology contributions to my name. My flagship work is the Jill Andersen series, a comic book-inspired mash-up of the murder mystery and superhero genres, and I’ve also written Notna, which I have trouble categorizing other than to quote a review I got, which said it was like “a cross between Indiana Jones and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
I have several other novels in the works (including the next Jill Andersen installment and a brand new series), and if all things go as they should, 2022 should be a pretty big year creatively speaking for me. I can’t promise anything will actually release in 2022, but if I can finish the books I have in-progress, that will go a long way to getting me back on track.
Maybe I can also finally get to a track again in 2022. But knowing COVID the way I do (and those who still refuse to take it seriously), probably not.
Which sucks, because I haven’t been to a race since October 2019. I miss it.
I enjoy (most of) the MCU movies. I’m terrible at watching and keeping up with TV shows (seriously; I didn’t watch Buffy until it was already off the air, and most of my favorite TV shows are no longer running).
I’m an avid reader, because I can’t imagine being a writer and not reading. I firmly believe you need to be one to be the other — so much so, that’s the subject of my non-fiction book (The Art of Reading). I have a handful of authors whose work I love almost without reservation — Chuck Wendig, R.R. Virdi, S.E. Anderson, Sabaa Tahir — and I’m a big supporter of indie and self-published authors.
Because since becoming an author myself nearly seven years ago, the vast majority of the books I’ve loved the most have come from indie and self-published authors.
If you were to visit me, you’d find three things in abundance: books, superhero statues and figures, and race car diecast models (and other racing paraphernalia). That’s probably the greatest summary of who I am and what makes me tic.
Mostly because I can’t just leave chicken wings sitting around. For one thing, they’d go bad if I did that, which would be a terrible waste. Not to mention the bugs they’d likely attract.
I’m the kind of person who stays in during the weekend and enjoys the quiet of solitude (even before COVID became a thing). I’m not a particularly social person, I’ve never been one for the bar scene, and frankly, almost all my friends live elsewhere. I’m as happy on a Friday night in bed with a beer and a book as I am with just about anything else.
I have stories to keep me company, and the older I get (how the hell am I 40?!), the more I find that’s okay.
Unless you have wings. Or you buy one of my books. Then we can talk.
About J.D. Cunegan
J.D. Cunegan is known for his unique writing style, a mixture of murder mystery and superhero epic that introduces the reader to his comic book-inspired storytelling and fast-paced prose. A 2006 graduate of Old Dominion University, Cunegan has an extensive background in journalism, a lengthy career in media relations, and a lifelong love for writing. Cunegan lives in Hampton, Virginia, and next to books and art, his big passion in life in auto racing. When not hunched in front of a keyboard or with his nose stuck in a book, Cunegan can probably be found at a race track or watching a race on TV.