Tuesday, November 6, 2012

From trucker to novelist, Fred Afflerbach shares his story with students at Mass Comm week

Photo taken from Kat Parker
By Patrice Cross

The author of “Roll On,” Fred Afflerbach, discussed how he went from a trucker to novelist with students at Mass Comm Week.

Mass Comm Week at Texas State University brings students and professionals together to discuss trends, ideas and issues affecting contemporary media.

Fred Afflerbach spoke to students Oct. 30 about dropping out of college to follow his dream of being a trucker, and how that led him to write his first novel “Roll On.”

At 22 years old and filled with wanderlust, Afflerbach dropped out of Texas State University in 1978 to become an independent diesel rig driver.

Coming from a literature background, Afflerbach realized there was a story to be told of the old-time truckers he had come to know. Afflerbach said growing up he had read stories of cowboys, the mountain man and other explorers, but he had never heard the story of the old-time trucker.

Afflerbach realized that truckers are the modern day explorers he used to read about growing up.

“The more I looked at them, the more I was in awe of them and what they had done, and I wondered why we haven’t heard of them,” said Afflerbach. “Why literature hasn’t talked about them.”

A break came when Afflerbach learned about a Mark Twain essay contest at a truck stop solely for truckers. The first year he was rejected, but he didn’t stop there. Afflerbach bought his first computer and began writing for trucker tabloids.

After getting married and starting a family, Afflerbach decided he wanted to be closer to home and focus more on getting his story out of his head and onto paper.

Afflerbach enrolled at Austin Community College in 1992 and eventually transferred to Texas State University to finish his degree. In 2007 he graduated with a degree in English and mass communication.

Once graduated, Afflerbach had a few jobs at various newspapers, but it wasn’t until the economy declined in 2008 that he forced himself to sit down and get the story of “Roll On” onto paper.

It took Afflerbach about 4 years to finish “Roll On.”

Describing the process of writing it, Afflerbach said, “Writing it was driving across the country at night and you can only see as far as your headlights show, but you have a roadmap and you have an idea of where you’re going to go.”

After listening to Afflerbach’s story, there was an overall feeling of inspiration among students.

Journalism major Lauren Welch, said, “I thought it was extremely courageous. I would never imagine, you know, quitting school to drive a truck.”

When asked about what inspired them most from Afflerbach’s story, electronic media major Montreal Williams, said, “My favorite part was right before he got kicked out of college, about stealing the meter. That made him want to change and go out and become a truck driver and really follow his passion, so that moment, that changed his life.”

You can buy Afflerbach’s novel, “Roll On,” at any local bookstore or online at Amazon.com.

Fred Afflerbach: Roll On


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