- Guest Author -
Welcome to an interview conducted with an award-winning author and patent attorney - Darin Gibby. In addition to a thriving career as a novelist, author Darin Gibby is also one of America's premiere patent attorneys and a partner at the prestigious firm of Kilpatrick Townsend (www.kilpatricktownsend.com). With over twenty years of experience in obtaining patents on hundreds of inventions from the latest mountain bikes to life-saving cardiac equipment, he has built IP portfolios for numerous Fortune 500 companies. In addition to securing patents, Darin Gibby helps clients enforce and license their patents around the world, and he has monetized patents on a range of products from computer disk drives to in-line skates.
Darin’s first book, Why Has America Stopped Inventing?, explored the critical issue of America’s broken patent system. With a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering and a Master of Business Administration degree, he is highly regarded in Denver’s legal and business community as a patent strategist, business manager, and community leader. He is also a sought-after speaker on IP issues at businesses, colleges and technology forums, where he demonstrates the value of patents using simple lessons from working on products such as Crocs shoes, Izzo golf straps and Trek bicycles.
An avid traveller and accomplished triathlete, Darin also enjoys backcountry fly-fishing trips and skiing in the Rocky Mountains. He lives in Denver with his wife and their four children.
Welcome, Darin ...
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. WHAT TYPE OF PREPARATION DO YOU DO FOR A MANUSCRIPT? DO YOU PLAN EVERYTHING FIRST OR JUST SHOOT FROM THE HIP?
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.
4. 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.
5. 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 take.
6. 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 patent lawyer.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR NEW WRITERS?
Don’t give up. And, write because you love to write, not because you expect everyone to fall in love with your books.
12. 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.
13. DO YOU HAVE A PREFERRED WRITING SCHEDULE?
Any spare minute I can get.
14. DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE WRITING PLACE?
Airplanes. I’ve probably written more chapters on a plane than anywhere else.
15. WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST JOY IN WRITING?
Reading a finished book and knowing you’ve put together something that might make someone else’s day.
16. WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE AUTHOR AND WHY?
John 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.
17. WHAT’S THE GREATEST COMPLIMENT YOU EVER RECEIVED FROM A READER?
When they ask: When’s the sequel coming?
18. WHAT WAS THE WORST COMMENT FROM A READER?
Telling me they are going to read the book, then never do.
19. WRITERS ARE SOMETIMES INFLUENCED BY THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THEIR OWN LIVES. ARE YOU?
Absolutely. You can’t write what you don’t feel.
20. OTHER THAN WRITING, WHAT ELSE DO YOU LOVE?
Too many 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.
21. DID YOU HAVE YOUR BOOK / BOOKS PROFESSIONALLY EDITED BEFORE PUBLICATION?
22. DESCRIBE YOUR PERFECT DAY.
Sitting on a beach in the Caribbean with a good paperback in my hands.
23. IF YOU WERE STUCK ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE PERSON, WHO WOULD IT BE? WHY?
Robin, my wife.
24. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IF YOU HAD THE CHANCE TO SPEAK TO WORLD LEADERS?
Why is it so hard for everyone to get along?
25. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE?
More of the same. I’ll keep being a patent attorney and writing on the side.
26. 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.
27. DO YOU SEE YOURSELF IN ANY OF YOUR CHARACTERS?
Sometimes, but often they are an ideal that is far different from my own character.
Sometimes, but often they are an ideal that is far different from my own character.
28. 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.
29. DID YOU EVER THINK OF QUITTING?
Sometimes. But then the drive always seems to return.
30. 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 savoured.
31. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE ‘SUCCESS’ AS A WRITER.
Any time you’ve written something you are proud of. It’s as simple as that.
32. WHAT 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.
33. HOW MUCH THOUGHT GOES INTO DESIGNING A BOOK COVER?
My publisher has always done this, and I thought they’ve always done a great job.
34. WHAT’S 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 SELF-PUBLISHED?
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.
Web site - http://www.daringibby.com/
Recipient of International Book Award - http://www.daringibby.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Award-Release.pdf
Video Trailer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8fyebbxwRY#t=14
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!