DATE is the true story of my attempt to find love, with a twist. I’d just settled in London and woke up one morning feeling ready to find someone. I work from home, sitting on a sofa, and it seemed almost natural to try and find that special someone by online dating, from my sofa. All of a sudden a slightly foolish idea hit me: yes, I’d try to find a girlfriend by dating 100 women in 100 days. Imagine lining up that many people, surely one of them would be right for you? For me! The next three months were hilarious, impossible, exhausting and heartbreaking. I faced a constant battle between two opposing forces: To find a girlfriend, or to finish the challenge?
Tell us something about yourself.
I was once a graphic designer, but quite an awful one. Following a snowboarding holiday in 2005 I took up longboarding in an attempt to improve my snowboarding skills, and two weeks later I quit my job and decided to skate further than anyone else ever had. I did it. Then I got a book deal and decided to pursue a career in endurance adventures. I now make a living from the stories generated by my journeys and my career is summed up by a project called Expedition1000, a series of twenty-five journeys, each one at least 1000 miles in distance and each one using a different form of non-motorised transport. I aim to raise £1,000,000 for charity throughout the project, and I’ll hopefully write a few books about it, too.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’d always wanted to write a book about dating, men, women, sex, chemistry, the birds and the bees. It’s a fascinating subject but so many people have tried their hand at it. When I came up with this challenge I supposed that I’d found my niche, and of course if I managed to get to the end then surely there would be enough devastating dating stories to fill a book?! Along the way I hoped I’d learn more about women, I’m not entirely sure I achieved that goal. I also wanted to develop my confidence to the stage where I might be able to ignore my innate fears of rejection and approach a woman at a bar. What if she’s The One, waiting there, ready for me to approach, and I don’t because I’m scared? I hate the idea of fears holding us back: more than anything this was the driving force behind the book, I wanted to improve myself, and then if I found love, it would be a bonus.
How did you choose the title?
I thought long and hard. It was a book about dating. I wanted to be clever, original, cryptic. So I chose DATE!
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I’m lucky enough to have a good amount of followers for my geographical adventures and felt that DATE had the potential to be a success even if I self-published, which was another world I wanted to explore. I turned down three offers from publishing houses, they either didn’t offer what I felt the book was worth or didn’t give me the best feeling about the long-term future of the book. Having been published previously I didn’t feel any desperation to have another book on the shelves but regardless of this I made a big decision, I decided to self publish. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
When I was 19 I went travelling for the first time and spent six months teaching in a Ugandan school. Suddenly I felt like I had something to talk about, or more specifically, write about. I kept a journal for years and I suppose if you’d ever challenged me about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have answered with one word: ‘writer’. I feel like it’s the best way I can express myself.
Do you have any writing rituals?
If I want to write, I switch off my Internet, my phone and any other distractions, and I write. I don’t believe in writer’s block, I believe if you don’t write, you don’t write.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
My characters were all real people, but many of them were just passing figures in the story. I wanted to be personal with all of my dates, so I tended to call them No.1, No.2, No.3, etc.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book?What?
I’ve chosen a career that gives me satisfaction from so many different angles, but writing and self-publishing this book gives me more pleasure than anything I’ve ever achieved. I opened up and put myself on a page, not hiding behind fiction or an alias. You read this book, you know me better than my Mother does. Until she reads it, I guess. All a writer wants is for people to enjoy their work, and thankfully I’ve received really positive reviews. It makes me want to write another book immediately.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I have three in the works. One is a compilation of diary entries that describe the first five years of my adventuring career. Two are about adventures, both record-breaking paddles down big rivers, the most recent being a 2404 mile descent of the Mississippi River by Stand Up Paddleboard.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Trust yourself, lock yourself away and write your book. Listen to people who are close to you, ignore the doubters, believe in yourself and your writing and get it out there. If you can’t find a publisher it doesn’t matter, it’s their loss.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
I’ve tried to write an open and honest account of how a man thinks on the dating scene. Everyone dates and falls in love, but my ideal reader will probably be single, and female.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
My personal website is www.davecornthwaite.com and my Twitter feed is @DaveCorn. DATE is available NOW on Kindle worldwide and in paperback. 10% of all profits go to the breast cancer awareness charity, CoppaFeel!
Buy Date through Amazon UK
Buy DATE through Amazon worldwide