I have self-published two books. The first is titled This Is What I Do and is the story of a man who searches for his true self following the layoff from a corporate job. Along the way he loses his significant other but does get her back at the end of the story, ending up with yet another corporate job, coming in contact with a woman who fleeces him, and eventually finds his true calling as a high school counselor, striving to keep young men and women from the dangers of pathologies such as gangs and drugs.
The second is titled Needed Now. In this story a young man does his duty for his country and gets wounded in the process. Not all of the junk was able to be removed, and was warned that he could become paralyzed and even die. He is in and out with the girlfriend he left behind, and she has the luck of meeting and becoming friends with one who sells equipment to aid with mobility. Meanwhile, Travis, the story’s male lead, goes about his daily business upon returning until his mobility issues no longer allow him to engage in productive work. He does succumb at the end of the story. The idea of somone or something being needed now is apparent throughout the story.
In addition I have three other manuscripts completed and would be happy to suplly information on these upon request. Have so far been unable to publish these due to financial restraints. I am now working on a sixth manuscript. My most recent completed one is a story I believe needs to be told and concerns the pitfalls of office politics.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am now 66 years old, live in the Chicago suburbs, have done a wide variety of work, most recently data entry. Also worked in a hospital in a non-medical department for several years earlier in life. My most recent long-term job was as a shipping clerk in a paging fulfillment center, a job which ended when cell phones made pagers nearly obsolete.
What inspired you to write this book?
My first book, “This Is What I Do” was actually inspired in part by my own job loss in early 2007. Yet Will, the male lead in this story, is only 35 which is considerably younger than me at the time. The story is in no way related to my own experience with the exception of being the catapult for starting to write it. Was loosely based on a song lyric I had previously written of that same title, and it appears at the end of the story.
Subsequent writings with the exception of the one concerning office politics had no true outstanding inspiration.
How did you choose the title?
Explained in previous portion and inspired by the soul-searching involved in story.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I knew it would be difficult, and somehow found Author House out of Bloomington IN. I went the self-publishing route for this reason. The obstacles faced since I published second book is that self-publishing costs money, and ran out due to job loss in early 2009 from which I still haven’t recovered over two years later. Have been trying to find an agent for the story I just finished, but so far have found no takers. I have begun to feel as if though finding such representation is akin to finding a needle in a haystack.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
Have had interest and flair for writing for most of my life. But in younger days got sidetracked by the desire to live the so-called good life heavily promoted during that time. Once I reached the age where I knew if would be quite difficult to find substantial paid employment I decided it was time.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I guess the closest thing to that would be that I do the bulk of my creative writing on my books at a local fast food place. Interestingly I find I have fewer distractions there than I do at home, even though I basically live alone these days. I also write song lyrics and have many posted on a website devoted to that.
How do you come up with the names of your characters?
This varies. In the first book I named my characters Will and Amy following listening to music where the featured artists had those names. But it is somewhat like pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Often I take them from listening to songs with those names either in them or the artists. Use only first names in the majority of my stories.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book?
Mostly that it can be a very daunting process, especially getting it out to the public, and doubly so for someone like me who admittedly has the sales and marketing equivalent of two left feet.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
Probably would have begun to research this earlier in life, but that might have been more difficult in the pre-Internet years. But even so it can still be daunting.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
Even though I write fiction I read mostly nonfiction, particulary those works of historical and social significance. Don’t have any particular favorite authors, however.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Yes I have made considerable progress on a story about a man who embarks on an odyssey of journeyman painting following the death of his wife. But would like to focus more on the last one I finished, which is a sort of losers’ odyssey following betrayal through office politics. Believe that this one has much social significance even if a work of fiction. And it was inspired by an experience I had.
What is the best advice you can give other writers about writing or publishing?
This is difficult as I need to be seeking advice from those who have had more experience with it than I have.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
I would say those who are interested in topics of social significance as this is what I am aiming at. I write in several short chapters rather than a few long ones to accommodate those with shorter attention spans who may also be time-pressed.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?