Life for Wall Street Journal-bestselling author Christopher Greyson wasn’t always as “crazy blessed” as it is today.
“I went from not even scraping by, living in a tiny apartment, and stacking boxes on the night shift with a miserable boss to being my own boss,” he tells PEOPLE.
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After surviving 20 tumultuous years that included addiction, bankruptcy and constant relocation with his wife Katherine and his two children, Laura and Christopher, the 50-year-old author says he has now found his purpose.
“I wake up every morning like a kid at Christmas and I get to open the best present in the world — the lid of my laptop so I can write,” he says.
The author found success and solace writing his award-winning mystery-thriller series that follows character Detective Jack Stratton in books such as Girl Jacked, Jacks Are Wild and most recently Jack Frost and The Girl Who Lived.
Greyson started writing thanks to the encouragement of his young daughter. He wrote his first bestseller Girl Jacked from the quietest room in the house — the bathroom.
As a storyteller, Greyson says his goal is to make his writing a cinematic experience, adding that he often “jumps into a character’s head and walks around in their shoes.”
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Writing is an outlet for Greyson, who says he grew up believing his emotions were supposed to always remain hidden.
“I’ve seen a lot of pain, not just in my life but in other people’s lives,” he says. “Writing helps me process those things and release them in a good way. If I couldn’t write, it would be like crimping a garden hose. Eventually, I’d blow up.”
While storytelling has become his biggest passion, he says that writing his books is no longer an escape. Rather, “it’s just a parallel universe that lives inside me.”
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“I’ll admit it, for me writing is magical, it’s a portal into another world,” he adds.
When asked what he would tell himself prior to his writing career, Greyson says he would give himself unexpected advice: to know when to give up.
“There’s no shame in failing if you learn from your mistakes,” he explains. “Sometimes you start down a path and it turns out to be the wrong one. There are times when persevering isn’t a virtue anymore, it’s a mistake, and you need to get out of there.”