Lost in the Hive: Confessions of a Reluctant Drone is a collection of true stories based on my unusual experiences as a husband, father, son, brother and friend. The experiences were mine, but readers will see themselves, and their families, in many of the stories. One of my goals in writing the book was to open up about those things many people are hesitant to discuss in polite company–from everyday frustrations with children and pets to juicier matters concerning sex, fetishes and even masturbation. I may one day say to myself, “Why on earth would you share all this?”, or, “You’re really quite messed up in the head, you know,” but for now I’m thrilled about sharing my somewhat skewed view of being human. I don’t think these stories are just for guys, either. Women will relate to my experiences as well.
Tell us something about yourself.
I grew up in two small towns in Canada, and have lived in the U.S. Midwest for the past twelve years. When I was 10, I convinced myself I was going to be a famous author. I even sent ideas to publishing houses for what I was sure would be a great novel. I was wrong. I procrastinated for 32 years, and then I wrote Lost in the Hive. I wrote the whole time–mostly boring magazine articles on business issues–but this is the first time I put my all into a complete book. I’m very proud of the result. I’m still working on the procrastination.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always been a storyteller. You can’t spend an hour with me without me saying, “Well, there was this one time…” My family and friends have heard my stories so many times they now finish my sentences for me (or throw things at me). I thought, “Well, not everyone has heard these stories.” So I wrote the book. Many people encouraged me through the process, because they found the stories interesting and, more often, shocking. I like to shock people. This book will shock people…I promise.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
Writing stories in ways that are inclusive of as many readers as possible. When I edit my stories, I ask myself, “Will anyone care?” I wanted to write a book that wasn’t just a vanity piece. I felt it was vital to talk about things most of us can relate to, even if we’re not all comfortable airing our dirty laundry in public. These are my experiences, but they’re also others’ experiences.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
I learned I probably should have been grounded for most of my childhood (and at least part of my adulthood).
What do you read?
I read a lot of work within my own genre–humorous true stories. I love David Sedaris, Augusten Burroughs and David Rakoff. One of my favorite books is How to Make Love to Adrian Colesberry, by Adrian Colesberry; it’s uniquely twisted and fun. I also read horror stories like the works of Stephen King, and anything else that seems to view the world through an unusual filter. If you’re a writer who doesn’t like to read, you shouldn’t be writing.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I’m currently putting together a second collection of humorous stories, and co-authoring a memoir with my wife, about her struggles with heart failure. I love writing, and can’t imagine ever giving it up.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Learn the craft, and grow a thick skin. Too many aspiring writers think they have a book in them, but when they sit down to put the words down, they struggle to put the stories together in a way that’s compelling to others. Or, worse, they feel that simply having a story means that it should be published. There’s a lot of technical skills involved. A good story that’s poorly written is not a good story.
I also think writers need to keep trying. You will be rejected–a lot–no matter how good your book is. Don’t take rejection to mean your story isn’t worth publishing; so many other factors (platform and the economy, for example) can keep a publisher from buying a good book. Listen to the feedback, and adapt. Your job, as writer, is to plug away until you find the right agent and the right publisher for your work. Lost in the Hive will be a success, I believe, because my agent and my publisher regarded it with the same affection I did.
Drinking sometimes helps, too.
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
I’m being a shameless whore. I am active on social media, I visit local bookstores, I keep lines of communication open with both my agent and publisher. I ask (beg) my friends to help. I do anything and everything to get exposure for my book, because I believe it’s worth reading. If you love what you’ve written, you can’t just expect the world to find it. You have to show them where to look. The online world has opened so many possibilities for writers to reach out to potential readers.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
I maintain a humorous blog at http://lostinthehive.blogspot.com. My book has a Facebook fan page, at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Brian-OMara-Croft/137467411303. My book is available from Amazon.com, or directly from the publisher at http://www.publishingworks.com. I’m also on Twitter, as omara_croft. I’m on Shelfari, RedRoom, Broowaha and numerous other sites. See, I told you I was a whore.