What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
My new book (and the second one I’ve written is Triumph: Winning Big In Life with Patience, Persistence, and Perseverance.
Triumph is about helping people to reawaken their dreams, to live life by design and not by default, and giving readers the belief that they can accomplish their dreams no matter how old they are. This is not the typical numbered step process but rather a collection of life experiences told in a way that readers can identify with experiences they may have had. If they, like me, have had people tell them they’re not good enough/smart enough/good looking enough/talented enough/rich enough to achieve a particular dream, this book will demonstrate they’re not alone and we should not be listening to the “dream stealers” who many times were just afraid to try. The dream stealers make themselves feel better when others are mired in the same misery they are. It’s time to tell the dream stealers to mind their own business and press forward with our dreams.
Tell us something about yourself.
I live in Austin, Minnesota. My background is in media, teaching, and writing. When people ask me what I do I tell them I’m an edusader…part educator and part persuader. I enrich the mind and encourage the heart to action. People who hear me speak or read my books comment that I seem to have all the answers. I tell them I don’t have any answers. They have the answers but don’t know it. It’s just that no one has asked them the right questions. I’m the one who asks the questions to reveal the answers people have inside them.
What inspired you to write this book?
What inspired me to write the book is that there are a lot of defeated people out there. People who thought at one time they could have done something special with their lives but now think their opportunity has passsed them by. We die when our dreams die and, many times, we die at 18 but they don’t bury us until we’re 75. In between people exist but they don’t live. There are those who wake up one morning and wonder where their lives got off track. Part of Triumph’s purpose is to help people walk back to the moment they made the decision that got them off course and to put them back on track. The other part is to then persuade them that they can still to something special with their lives. It’s only too late to do something once we’re buried.
How did you choose the title?
Patience, persistence, and perseverance were three things that my mom stressed throughout my life. Slow and steady wins the race, she’d always tell me.
I wanted to convey to the readers from the get-go that if they wanted to be successful they have to embrace the three Ps in their philosophy. Triumph happens when we succeed, particularly when we have to overcome overwhelming odds or obstacles to achieve our goals or dreams.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
The two biggest obstacles an author typically encounters are getting the manuscript written and selling a publisher on an idea. Triumph is my second book so those obstacles were less difficult to overcome that with my first book Women Under Glass: The Secret Nature of Glass Ceilings and The Steps to Overcome Them.
The biggest obstacle in writing this book was simple those people who were doubting that I had something to say on this subject. No matter who you are or how successful you are there are always those people in our lives who want to tear us down.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I have wanted to be a published author since I was in fourth grade. Writing has always been a passion of mine and something I excelled at in school. It hasn’t been until the past five years or so that I finally found my voice as an author.
Do you have any writing rituals?
My writing style is not necessarily one about rituals but rhythm. There needs to be a flow of thoughts for me. I’ll jot down ideas throughout the week, maybe do some outlining, so that when I sit down to compose on a Saturday morning I can write sun up to sun down. When the thoughts and ideas are flowing my fingers are flying across my keyboard to keep up with the thoughts pouring out of my mind. That’s when writing is the most productive and fun.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
The biggest thing I learned from wrting this book is how many people can identify with my experiences. There is a lot of me in Triumph and it was purposeful on my part. If people can see themselves in my shoes based on similar experiences, then they can draw hope that if I overcame some of the obstacles in life I have that they can do it too.
The people who have read my book have told me again and again how they had a situation that was similar to one I had used in the book. People have come up to me in tears telling me of their experiences and how personal the book is to them. Being an author has allowed me to connect with others in a way I never have before and it carries a terrific responsibility.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
What would I do differently…that’s an excellent question and a tough one. There are a few instances in life that I think back and wish I would have done differently. There have been a lot of bumps and bruises during the course of my life. Having said that, I don’t think I’d change a thing. Good experiences and bad have shaped me into the man I am today and those experiences are now allowing me to help others.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Reading is one of my favorite pursuits. I have quite a library. Typically business, finance, history, sports, action/adventure tend to be my favored categories, depending on my mood. In the business category my favorite authors are Joel Bauer, Kevin Hogan, Dave Lahkani, and Mark Joyner. Richard Marcinko and Peter O’Donnell on the action/adventure side. Books are one of the most amazing things ever invented. In bundled pages of thought I can learn or experience things from people who I have not nor will ever meet. It’s a wonderful way to transfer knowledge.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
My next book is titled: Evil Does Not Have the Last Word: God, Superheroes, and Faith. In today’s world, people are looking for hope and they’re looking for heroes in this age of uncertainty. The dozens of superhero movies that have been released in the past 15 years and will be released in the next five have given people a certain amount of escape.
The danger for some people whose lives have been touched by trauma is that they can put their faith into fictional characters rather than God. Part of what the next book is about is showing that God does not abandon us even in times of great peril and that what others intend for evil, God can use for good. It’s a message of hope but it isn’t “preachy”. A lot of the book contains stories about real people – including myself – who have gone through brutal circumstances and chose to trust God rather than to take matters into their own hands…unlike superheroes, who take matters into their own hands. I love superheroes but we as a society can blur the line between admiring and worshiping.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
There are three pieces of advice for authors is: 1) don’t worry about perfection, about writing a perfect draft the first time. Write a really bad draft and go back and fix it. That’s why they call it editing; 2) Find someone who you are comfortable with to read your rough draft for feedback. It’s not about them checking spelling, punctuation, or typos…it’s about finding out if what you’re trying to convey is what others are understanding and; 3) don’t give up. The first Chicken Soup for the Soul book was rejected by about 150 publishers. What if Canfield and Hanson had quit after rejection 140?
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
If someone said “no” to your dream and you listened then you’re the perfect reader for Triumph.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Readers can learn more about Triumph and me at www.ericshoars.com People can also buy my books right from the website.