Publish or perish? No, persist. Fort Worth author Colin Holmes publishes his first novel at 60

By Liz Confiliano

Fort Worth author Colin Holmes’ writing career began with a story for an elementary school assignment. It seemed like a good start, but it took him 60 years to publish his first novel.

In between, a career creating advertisements for boots, Blizzards and electronics.

“There’s an old adage that a professional writer is just an amateur who never gives up,” says Holmes. “I’m a bit stubborn and like to invent characters and put them in interesting situations.”

And now, finally, his novel thunder road is being published and will be available February 15 wherever the books are sold.

thunder road is full of interesting situations. Set along Fort Worth’s famous Jacksboro Highway in the summer of 1947, the story follows former cop Jefferson Sharp from chasing cattle rustlers to a fledgling business as a private detective on the hunt for an officer of the Air Force who disappeared from his top secret job at Fort Worth Air Force Base.

“I wanted to make post-WWII Fort Worth one of the characters in the book and tried to evoke the vibe of the nightclubs and amusement arcades that lit up Highway 199 in its heyday” , said Holmes, who works as director of communications for the electronics distributor. TTI, Inc.

thunder road started life as a screenplay – Holmes graduated from UCLA’s screenwriting program – but it turned out to be more complex than a two-hour movie could handle. So the film became a novel and evolved over a decade of drafts, rewrites and workshops through the DFW Writers Workshop.

“I pitched it to dozens of agents and editors, but what finally caught an editor’s attention was a tweet,” Holmes said.

The successful distillation of his 85,000-word novel into a 240-character tweet led to a deal with CamCat Publishing of Nashville and another year of rewrites and edits before thunder road makes its way on the way to publication.

Holmes says her journey shows that when you keep doing what you love, it can eventually lead you to success. Even if it takes 60 years.

Thunder Road East available at:
CamCat Publishing
Barnes & Nobles

Lola R. McClure