Questionable parental movie supervision notwithstanding, seeing something I had written in print was invigorating. So after spending my formative years running around a small town in rural Iowa, I enrolled in the University of Iowa and eventually picked up degrees in Journalism and Communication Studies. During that time I also spent three years writing for the Daily Iowan.
After graduation crossed over to the media relations world in the University of Iowa Sports Information Department, where I spent nine years on the road, running stats and frantically writing postgame stories before the team bus left.
I only got left behind once.
Marriage and a baby made road trips an impossibility, so I thought the life of a stay-at-home dad would be the perfect way to finally write that novel that had been bouncing around my head for years.
How cute is that?
Needless to say, caring for a 6-month-old leaves precious little time to breathe, let alone write. I was barely able to keep up with the fake blog I decided to make for her at 3 a.m. the day she was born.
But despite being parented by me, the kid got older and my novel idea poked its head out from under an avalanche of dirty diapers. I was ready to start writing.
Just in time to find out we were having another kid.
This time I knew what I was getting into, however, and I hustled to get whatever I could down before the next avalanche arrived. It was about 14,000 words, and it wasn’t good, but it was the seed from which A Necessary Act grew.
That was six years, six drafts and a move to Minnesota ago. There were plenty of detours along the way, including a stint writing opinion pieces as a member of the Rochester Post-Bulletin’s Editorial Advisory Board, but I finally got the book done.
What inspires you to write?
I’ve been an avid reader my whole life. Writing lets you see the other side of the story. You watch it unfold on the page, and while you can give it a nudge or two every now and then, you get to be the first reader. It’s an amazing process.
Tell us about your writing process.
I can’t write in my house. There are just too many distractions. Whenever I hit a roadblock, I start thinking ‘Why don’t I got put in that load of laundry while I think this over’. And once I’m away from the page, it’s over. So I always work in a local coffee shop. That way, if I get blocked, I’ve got nothing to do but sit and think. Sometimes nothing comes, but most of the time after a few minutes I can plow ahead.
But coffee shops aren’t quiet environments, so that’s where music comes in. I plug in my headphones and crank up the volume. But not just any music will do. Writing is like running – loud and upbeat is the best. Keeps you going. But sometimes lyrics can get in the way, so instrumental stuff is ideal. One of the best albums I found is LAVABANGERS by Lazerbeak. Fantastic beats, no lyrics. Perfect writing music.
For Fiction Writers: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?
My characters are like my children, meaning most of the time they won’t listen to me. I’ll try to push them in the right direction, but most of the time they do what they are going to do. Good characters don’t need direction. I just sit back and see what they say. Most of the time it’s better than anything I can come up with myself!
What advice would you give other writers?
Writing a book is mostly effort and scheduling. Set aside time every day to write and stick to it. No days off. Get into a groove. The more you do it, the better it gets.
And the two things you don’t want to skimp on is editing and cover design.
How did you decide how to publish your books?
I did the Query game for a year. I got lots of interest and lots of requests, but finding an agent who is ready to take a chance on an unknown author is very hard. Eventually I realized that I could be a success as a self-publisher if I was prepared to put in the work. I’m very glad I did.
What do you think about the future of book publishing?
There will always be books and always be physical copies of books. But the industry is changing rapidly as more and more people realize that the self-publishing route is not only viable, but often times more beneficial for smaller authors. It will be interesting to see how the industry reacts to it.
What do you use?: Professional Editor, Professional Cover Designer, Beta Readers
What genres do you write?: Thriller, psychological thriller, suspense
What formats are your books in?: Both eBook and Print
All information in this post is presented “as is” supplied by the author. We don’t edit to allow you the reader to hear the author in their own voice.