The Brothers' Story
Born in 1974 in the great state of Minnesota
Born in 1976 in the less well known state of Kansas [:)]
Developing Two Writers in the Same Family
Jeff and Mark Henrikson grew up in Kansas City and St. Louis. They both attended college at the University of Missouri - Columbia (Mizzou). Their wives often say they had an ideal childhood, which perhaps explains the closeness of their relationship.
Rather than bore you with childhood details, I will instead discuss how we both came to be authors. Sometime during graduate school, Jeff began to feel a calling toward the written page. The first idea that came to him was a grand science fiction space opera in which a great galactic war is being waged and aliens from both sides accidentally find themselves stranded on Earth. Their fight continues on our planet, while the galactic war rages on, unbeknownst to the people of Earth. If this sound familiar to some of you, it should. Jeff actually came up with the initial idea for what became the Origins Series. He developed a few characters, the overall universe, and even wrote a few chapters.
Ultimately, he stopped work on the series after hitting a writers wall. He instead began to focus on a fantasy series that seemed to come more naturally, where the writing came easier, and the characters were clearer in his mind. Whether Jeff is more predisposed to fantasy writing, or whether he simply had more experience the second time around, is yet to be determined. Jeff made decent progress on the Prayer for Peace Series for one or two years, before something interesting happened.
Mark called Jeff up on the phone and asked permission to continue on with the original science fiction theme developed several years before. Jeff was very invested in his fantasy series and knew he wasn't going to get back to his science fiction idea for at least ten years, if ever. So he told Mark to go ahead and give it his best shot. I'll let you in on a little secret. I expected him to mess around with the whole writing idea for a month or two and then give it up as too difficult and time consuming. Little did Jeff know that Mark would take to writing like a fish takes to water. Mark somehow managed to write seven books in the time it took Jeff to produce three.
Honestly, it has worked out great. Mark took the series in a different direction than I intended. This means I can still go back and finish the science fiction story I was intent on telling. I also have to confess that A Prayer for Peace may not have continued if my brother hadn't paved the way, giving me something toward which to strive. Writing is enjoyable for me for many reasons, but it is incredibly difficult and time consuming. It is difficult to work a full time job, spend time with my family, constantly live in a sleep deprived state, and have the dedication to write an hour per day. There is the additional disincentive that you may spend thousands of hours developing a manuscript which very few people will ever read. Writers don't become writers for the money or the fame, as there is precious little of either to go around, but rather, writers develop stories and characters because it is what they yearn to do.
This saga has created what I believe may be a unique situation. I have never heard of two siblings who became authors in the same genre (science fiction and fantasy are often put in the same broad category). I would love your thoughts on this subject. Please find my email in the contacts section.