TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WRITING JOURNEY.
I’ve been writing for nearly 15 years, dabbling with
ideas for several novels, and mostly learning the craft of writing. All this, mind you, while keeping up a busy
legal practice. While in the middle of drafting my first novel, The Vintage
Club, I ran across some compelling stories about inventors in the nineteenth
century. As a patent lawyer, I was
intrigued about how inventors back then could use the patent system to their
advantage, while it is so difficult today.
So, I took a little detour and wrote a non-fiction book entitled, “Why
Has America Stopped Inventing?” With
that publication, I was fortunate enough to capture some media attention, and
gained some valuable insights in how to market books—no small task these
days. After that book, I polished up The
Vintage Club and sent it off to Koehler
Books. It took about two days
before I had a deal with them.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME A WRITER?
I decided to start writing after falling in love with
John Grisham novels. I really wanted to
learn to write like him. He makes
writing look so easy, but I discovered there are only a few people with that
kind of talent. I think the challenge of
turning a good story idea into a marketable book was what originally drove me
to write. Now, it’s really about telling
a story using fiction as a vehicle.
WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION
DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE
I’ve tried both
ways. Shooting from the hip is great
because you have all your creative juices flowing. However, for thrillers, I’ve found it just
doesn’t work. There is a tried and true
formula for telling a story, and you really need to follow that. Because of that, I usually create a detailed
outline and go from that.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A WRITER?
I love to think through ideas, then figure out how to
tell those ideas in a way that is exciting to others. I think that is the lawyer part of me. It is so satisfying when someone reads your
book and begs you to write another one.
WHAT IS THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A WRITER? Rejection.
As every author knows, you get lots of rejections. Even with thick skin, it’s still hard to
WHAT WERE YOU IN A PAST LIFE, BEFORE YOU BECAME A WRITER?
I think I still am in my past life. I write whenever a get a free minute. The rest of my time I earn a living as a
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST WRITING ACHIEVEMENT?
I really like the
message in The Vintage Club. Having said
that, more books are on the way, and I like the messages in those as well. Only time will tell if others agree.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
I’ve just finished
a baseball book. It’s a story about a
man who discovers he has a mysterious disease that makes him pitch really fast,
but the more he pitches, the faster he leads to his own death.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I think I’ve been inspired the most by Joseph Campbell
and his thoughts on mythology. It’s those stories retold in a modern setting
that really make good stories.
WHAT GENRE DO YOU WRITE?
I write both
fiction and nonfiction, and I love both.
I’m still toying with the idea of writing a Bill Bryson kind of book
about the mid nineteenth century. I
think that would be a lot of fun.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR
Don’t give up.
And, write because you love to write, not because you expect everyone to fall
in love with your books.
DO YOU SUFFER FROM WRITER’S BLOCK?
That’s not a
problem I have. I have lots of ideas,
and not enough time to get them all down.
DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
Any spare minute I can get.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Airplanes. I’ve probably written more chapters on a
plane than anywhere else.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Reading a finished
book and knowing you’ve put together something that might make someone else’s
WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
Grisham. I wish I could tell a story
like he does. I was a first year law
student when he released The Firm. One
of my classmates bought the book and I think I stay up all night reading it.
WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
When they ask: When’s the sequel coming?
WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
Telling me they
are going to read the book, then never do.
WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR
OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Absolutely. You can’t write what you don’t feel.
OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
things. I spend a lot of time with my wife
and kids. I also love racing in
triathlons, fly fishing and skiing, among lots of other sports.
DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE
DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Sitting on a
beach in the Caribbean with a good paperback in my hands.
IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD
IT BE? WHY?
Robin, my wife.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD
Why is it so hard
for everyone to get along?
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
More of the
same. I’ll keep being a patent attorney
and writing on the side.
WHAT FIVE BOOKS WOULD YOU TAKE TO HEAVEN?
I guess that
depends on what the definition of “heaven” is.
What is heaven isn’t a place, but a condition? If so, I think the best book would be the one
of your own life.
DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Sometimes, but often they are an ideal that
is far different from my own character.
DOES THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY FRUSTRATE YOU?
Is there an author
today who isn’t frustrated? It certainly
is in flux, and the best way to deal with it is to stay abreast of everything
that is happening.
DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
then the drive always seems to return.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE MANUSCRIPT TO WRITE? WHY?
I really loved The
Vintage Club. Turning ancient symbols into a modern story was a challenge I
WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
Any time you’ve written something you are
proud of. It’s as simple as that.
SHOULD READERS WALK AWAY FROM YOUR BOOKS KNOWING? HOW SHOULD THEY FEEL?
I want them to understand what the main
character has learned during his/her journey, and hopefully have a desire to
follow that same journey.
MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
My publisher has always done this, and I
thought they’ve always done a great job.
YOUR ULTIMATE DREAM?
To be able to write full time.
35. WRITING IS ONE
THING. WHAT ABOUT MARKETING YOU, YOUR BOOKS AND YOUR BRAND? ANY THOUGHTS?
The dark side of writing. If you can’t market, your book is going
nowhere. Like most authors, I’m still
learning. I wish it were easier.
36. ARE YOUR BOOKS
37. ANYTHING YOU’D
LIKE TO ADD?
Writing to me is a
journey. I’d write even if nobody ever read one of my books. It’s a way for me to learn about myself and
the world around me. I’ll probably be writing until the day I die.
Clancy's comment: Many thanks, Darin. Pardon the pun, but it's patently obvious that you have a full life. I'd love to be fishing with you. You are right about one thing: Writing is like therapy. It's a great way to learn heaps about yourself.
Hey, keep writing!