It's an excellent question, and one I've been asked often since I started writing Tonight at Ten: A TV News Reporter's Stories Behind the Stories. I thought about writing a book in 1997 after I survived a battle with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I kept a journal. I thought it would make for an interesting read. After all, I was sharing my cancer fight with the Dallas-Fort Worth television audience, which in my mind, made it a unique experience. But everything changed when I asked a friend of mine, a very successful author, to have coffee with me one morning. She told me she was going to be "completely honest" with me. She asked, "Steve, why are you writing this book? Are you doing it for self-therapy?" She then hit me with a sobering dose of reality. "Have you been to the book store lately? There's an entire section of cancer books. What makes your book different? Why would someone want to read it?" It was at that point I stopped writing. In my heart of hearts, I felt like she was right and I was wasting my time. The next time I saw her, she asked, "How's that book coming?" I told her I gave up the idea. She became very upset. "Oh no. That's not what I wanted to do. I didn't want to discourage you. I just wanted to show you it would be a difficult challenge to publish a book."
Almost 20 years later, when I left the news business for a media relations opportunity, the idea crept into my psyche again. Perhaps it never left. In my 34 years as a broadcast journalist, I became an eyewitness to so many amazing experiences that most people never see in a lifetime: I discovered when I verbally shared these stories with friends, family and even total strangers, they seemed fascinated by the compelling "stories behind the stories." I thought to myself, "I've told these stories so many times, I should write them. Maybe this could be the subject of a book. So I started writing. The stories just kept flowing and flowing. And I even wrote a few chapters about my cancer experience.
Having this book come to fruition is truly a dream come true for me. It's not about making money. It's about creating something that you're proud of. The biggest payoff for this author will be having people read my work and react to it. I look forward to hearing from all of you. I hope you enjoy it. I hope you feel some of the same emotions I experienced as you read it: joy, happiness, utter disbelief, sadness, compassion, anger and warmth in your hearts.