Rick Olderman – Author Interview

What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.

Fixing You: Shoulder & Elbow Pain. This book explains in very straightforward language why chronic or recurring shoulder injuries happen. Usually this is due to shoulder blades that are sitting too low on the trunk. This sets up a myriad of problems in terms of shoulder function. This also feeds down to the elbow joint which compensates for the poor shoulder blade function.

As a physical therapist, I know most people’s eyes glaze over when talking about medical stuff so I’ve taken great care to reduce or eliminate medical terminology and I’ve included lots of illustrations of key concepts. I’ve also put video clips of all the exercises on the Fixing You website (www.FixingYou.net) to really show you how things should be done.

The same goes true for my first two books, Fixing You: Neck Pain & Headaches and Fixing You: Back Pain. My books are very user friendly and very effective.

Tell us something about yourself.

I live in Denver, Colorado with my wife and two kids. I grew up on a farm in Ohio and, from a very early age, have been interested in writing, helping people, and the human body. As a physical therapist, I’ve spent my career trying to understand chronic or recurring injuries as well as how our anatomy translates into movement (and painful movement). My Fixing You series is the culmination of these interests. I think I’ve done a pretty good job not only of teaching people how to fix their pain but also keeping it an interesting read. My books are short and to the point–definitely not something that will put you to sleep!

What inspired you to write this series?

As a physical therapist, I spent the first 10 years of my career frustrated by how ineffective I was at helping people with chronic pain get better. Inherently I believed chronic pain shouldn’t exist because I felt our bodies were mechanical marvels of function. Along those same lines, it didn’t make sense to me that we should need someone else to fix us (other than for tears and things like that). I finally put all the pieces together and this series is the result. It puts the power to fix your pain in your hands–not someone elses. If you think about it, you’re the only one who has control of your body so ultimately you’re the only one who can fix your pain. My books just guide you in figuring out why you’re in pain and what you need to do to fix it.

How did you publish this book? Why did you decide to self-publish?

I self-published my books for one reason. I learned that publishers (and agents) really only want to talk to people in my field who are working with celebrities or sports heroes. My clients don’t include these groups of people.

I can understand this because most of what I read about selling books is that you need to have celebrities or sports figures in order to sell and that’s ultimately why publishers and agents are in the business–to sell books.

I hope to buck that trend by writing books that actually fix people’s pain. I believe that if I do a good enough job word of my books will spread and so will sales.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

Since I was a little boy, I wanted to write. I wrote terrible poetry and awful stories. In college, my work was ripped apart by instructors and classmates alike. Now I think I understand why–because I was writing about the wrong things. I hadn’t yet found something I was passionate about and I have that now, together with unusual knowledge of my field. Now writing is a blast and just flows from me because I have so much to say about what I do and how to help others. Although I still would like to write some fiction, non-fiction is where I can really shine.

What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?

Finding the right subject to write about.

How do you do research for your books?

As a physical therapist, my field is very research oriented. Unfortunately research doesn’t always translate into results. I’ve learned to use medical research as a guide for what I do but not the final word. Ultimately I must experiment with my own theories when presented with a patient that doesn’t fit the mold–which means just about everyone!

Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?

I learned that I knew more than I thought I did. I also learned that so much of what I do is automatic, that I didn’t realize I did it. Writing my books has helped me break down my logic and decision-making process and bring to conscious awareness what were unconscious decisions. It’s helped me be a better therapist.

What are you reading now?

In between children’s stories for my kids and my professional journals, I manage to slip in a book here and there. Right now I’m reading, The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s fun and interesting and completely takes me away from my usual thinking.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

I love mysteries, science fiction, biographies, and historical novels. I’ve read a great deal of the classics during my world travels and have a special place in my heart for many of them.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

Yes, I’ve just completed the third book in my Fixing You series and am close to finishing my fourth, Fixing You: Back Pain During Pregnancy. After that is a book about hip and knee pain and I’m currently researching my final book in the series about foot and ankle pain. It’s quite fun!

What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?

First, write about something you understand and know well. Understand your audience and what they would want from your book. Finally don’t let the fact a publisher or agent isn’t interested, hamper your dream of writing your book. There’s so much you’ll learn along the way that publishing isn’t necessarily the only benefit to writing.

What are you doing to promote your latest book?

I speak at conferences, conduct clinics, write and respond to blogs–just about anything I can do.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

www.FixingYou.net lists my books and talks briefly about their content. I also have a blog there they can read. I talk about what I’m doing with my patients and new discoveries I make along the way. It’s not too technical. I write it for laypeople as much as I write for myself.