Tell me about yourself. What got you started in writing?
I teach Criminal Justice at a two-year technical college in Wisconsin. I am married and have 4 children, ages 1-11. It was always a goal of mine to write a book of some sort. I always thought it would be cool to go to the library and be able to check out my own book; maybe that is kind of “nerdy”, I don’t know! So, I knew I wanted to write something, I just didn’t know what.
As my kids started to grow up, I found myself saying all the “fatherly” quips or phrases that my dad used to say to me. This made me simultaneously laugh and shutter! But, it started me on a journey of reflection of all the things my dad taught me about life. He passed away in 2007 of a brain tumor, and my kids will never know him, other than what I pass on to them through stories and pictures. I wanted some way to give my kids something to take with them that was part autobiographical and part family history of their dad and grandpa. I started jotting down memories and stories from my childhood, of lessons I learned from dad, and the book “Dad, You Were Right: Reflections from a Stubborn Son” evolved.
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How do you schedule your writing time? When do you write?
With 4 kids and working full-time, this one can be a challenge at times! I try to carve out an hour here or there to try and write. I am in school for my Doctorate in Education, so that takes precedent time-wise, but I’ve found if I get up an hour or two before the kids do in the morning, that gives me some time to keep chipping away on a project.
How and where do you write? Do you prefer a lap top or some other method of getting your words down?
Usually I write sitting at the kitchen table, on my laptop. If I am away from home, or at work, and something pops into my head I’ll jot down the idea on my smartphone to save it for later when I can transfer it onto the laptop and expand on it.
What's your favorite part about writing? Your least favorite part about writing?
My favorite part of writing is seeing the idea take shape and evolve into something usable, seeing the idea that was once in my head come out on paper. My least favorite part would have to be the time it takes, I can’t spend long periods of time committed to a project…that and editing/proof-reading the work, my wife helps greatly with that though! She has a better eye for that kind of stuff.
How did you come up with your book idea? How long did it take you to write your book?
It sort of evolved over a period of time, from reflecting on what my dad taught me about life, to what I want to teach my children, and again leaving something for them to look back on to learn more about their grandpa who they never knew.
The whole process took about 6-7 months, start to finish. This was from the beginning stages of jotting down notes through to publishing it in May/June of 2015.
What types of marketing do you do to promote your writing?
This is the part I am still figuring out. Admittedly, I don’t like the promotion/marketing aspect of writing as much I do the actual writing/creating part. I feel like I’m bragging, or boasting, when trying to advertise my book, like “Look at me and how awesome I am!” To me it sound disingenuous, insincere. I don’t like asking people for money, or to buy something, I feel too much like a car-salesman. But, I realize it’s part of the gig, so I’ve done some Facebook advertising from my author’s page, I’ve done Freebooksy/Bargainbooksy, and Goodreads too.
A lot of it is word of mouth though. My family and friends have been great, extremely supportive, they share it on social media which helps a ton! It’s great to have their support and confidence, especially when embarking on something new and personal like writing the book I did. I owe them a lot for all of their support and help.
What are you currently working on? Do you have a new book out?
Do you have a project on the back burner? Tell me about it.
Nothing on the back burner. I have the project I’m currently working on and that’s about all I can load on my plate right now with everything else going on in my life!
What would you tell a beginning writer who wants to publish but doesn't believe he/she has enough talent?
I would say, baloney, just go for it! I always look at challenges or goals I have a couple of ways. 1) If others can do it, it must be possible, so why not me too? I think too often people are limited by their own beliefs, or lack of confidence, we’re scared to try. We are our own worst enemies most times. It’s not others telling us we can’t do something, it’s us! Einstein said, “In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.” And 2) If you try and fail, at least you tried, that’s better than saying someday “I wish I would’ve…” I can rest easy at night knowing I at least gave it a shot. If you don’t succeed, so what, try it again! Thomas Edison, said, “I have not failed 10,000 times-I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” Those two guys seem pretty smart to me, so I try to take their advice when doing something new.
Question for Kathyrn: What got you started in writing? And, what advice would you give a still-new author such as myself? Any do’s or don’ts?
I got started in writing when I was expecting my first baby. I was sick 24/7 so I had to find something to do that would take my mind off morning, afternoon, and evening sickness. My first short story was called, Weebles Wabble. Not a terribly terrific title, and I have never let anyone read the manuscript except my parents.
As for do's and don'ts. Don't give up when it's tough, because it will get tough. Do market without stress - my handy dandy marketing book will help with that, and help other writers whenever you can. Paying it forward is always a good idea.
Thank you, Chris!
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