What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
Burnt Cookies – A Quest for Closure is a true account of a high school football player (Arny Alberts) who is groomed, betrayed and sexually abused for years by his coach. Alberts suppresses the abuse for decades until a phone call from a friend brings back the memories from the past. He finds out that a friend on the football team was also abused by the same man. Together they plan to hold a press conference in the local Chicago area in order to stop the man from hurting another youth.
After the press conference, Alberts’ life dramatically changes as the newly revealed knowledge of his past is now known among coworkers, family and friends. He begins to self destruct in front of his family as alcohol consumption and moral boundaries are breeched. In an attempt to resolve some of the raging issues, he seeks therapy and finally talks about the horrific experiences inside his soul never revealed. A desire to reach closure finds Alberts seeking out the man who abused him in the past in an attempt to finally confront him face to face as a man. For months and months, he searches for the man and makes one last attempt to look him in the eye and discuss the past.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am from the south side of Chicago. I have been married for almost 17 years to a beautiful woman and have two children. I am a telecommunications supervisor in a large, global law firm in the heart of Chicago. I was raised in a large Catholic family where life’s priorities, hard work, religion and family were instilled on a daily basis. This is my first book.
What inspired you to write this book?
I began to write the story of my sexual abuse for therapeutic reasons only. Day by day, the words that flowed onto the paper calmed the demons raging inside me. I wanted to help other victims, their families and friends who have helplessly watched them suffer. My book is a sign of hope for anyone affected by sexual abuse.
Why did you decide to self-publish?
The research I performed lead me to believe that self-publishing would be the only possible option for an unknown author. Financially, it seemed the only path as well.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I never knew I would be a writer. I started writing down some of the memories of my past sexual abuse. I wanted to stop the continuous replay that seemed to endlessly run through my mind. The more I wrote, many times with tears in my eyes, the better I began to feel. I couldn’t stop until the story had been told; my writing gave me strength and power to face things in my life I never expected.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
Marketing, no doubt.
How do you do research for your books?
This is my first book – I did no research at all. The story came from within.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
I learned that every person has a story to tell and has the chance to deeply impact all those it reaches. When a door closes on you, more like slams in your face, it provides you an oppurtunity to climb through a window or find another door. Also, if you believe in yourself, keep your goals in mind, you can accomplish anything going one step at a time.
What are you reading now?
Twilight. My wife and kids have read the whole series and can’t stop talking about it.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I like to read books with action and believable characters. I like Stephen King, John Grisham, Mitch Albom because their stories keep me reading.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I haven’t started my next book, but I would like to write another non-fiction account of everything that has happened since ending the writing of my first book. So, a sequel to Burnt Cookies is definetely a possibility.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
There are definitely no shortcuts to writing, editing, publishing or marketing. Writing seems to be a world where there are multiple ways to do the same thing. It takes time to find which way works best for your situation. Determination is a must.
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
I have hired a publicist to promote my book using social media sites, entered the Indie book contest and I have a book trailer on the internet (YouTube).