Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I have been writing all my life. English was my best subject growing up and I enjoyed the creative writing classes I took in high school.
What makes writing your passion?
Writing is just one of my passions. Helping people find and live their passion is another passion of mine. I enjoy expressing myself through my writing. Sometimes I use that passion to help others find and live their purpose. Letely, I've been a guest on numerous podcasts. I always write out a script before a podcast so I have a guide to channel my thoughts.
How long have you been writing?
I've been actively writing since high school and have had several articles published in the trades over my business career. I've been writing books for the past twenty years or so.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
I can't imagine what it is like to to give birth to a child, but receiving the first copy of my first book was humbling and incredibly moving. It was the closest I will ever come to giving birth.
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My book is a non-fiction publication, so there aren't any characters in the book. The book is predominantly about a set of principles that I believe will lead you to your uncommon and extraordinary life. I illustrate those principles with personal stories from my life or those of others I know or experienced.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
After writing my first few books, I attempted to get the published the traditional way. I queried numerous agents to see if I could get them to pitch my book to a publishing company. One of the books I wrote was about my journey through cancer. Every agent told me they wouldn't even read the manuscript because publishing companies wouldn't publish a book about cancer unless you were famous or had a large platform. I remember thinking how shortsighted that was. To just dismiss things outright seemed so petty.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I had two rules when I started writing. #1. Write at least one page every day. #2. Don't edit anything until you have finished the first draft. There were days I sat down at the computer and wrote a page of the worst group of sentences ever written. I knew that page would NEVER be published. But, nevertheless, I had written something. As long as you keep writing, eventually you will overcome any "block" you might experience.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
It you lead your life with your heart, you are less likely to care what others think or say about you. Your purpose is what is driving you forward.
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Take more chances. If you want to do something, but it scares you, then do it! Stop thinking with your fears and insecurities and start thinking with your mind. Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I learned a long time ago that you will not please all the people all the time. I read the positive and negative reviews I get. Whether I choose to own those reviews, that is up to me. (And most of the time, I don't.)
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
It is nice to have someone let you know that something you have written has had a positive impact on their life. The reviews that mean the most to me are the ones where the book impact resonated in their soul.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I have never written a novel. My books are about life experiences of myself or others.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
This question isn't applicable to my book writing.
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
For someone who knows nothing about you or your writing, the book cover will draw someone in and is an important part of having someone become familiar with your work.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I love talking with my readers. I don't have all the answers. Other people, and their lives, fascinate me. Most of what I read are biographies. I love learning what makes others tick. Talking to people who have read my work helps me to grow as a person and as an author.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Fame and fortune are fleeting. I'm no better or worse than anyone else. I appreciate it when others stop and let me know they have read my book and it had an impact on them.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
As I previously mentioned, I enjoy reading biographies. I like to learn where people are coming from and why they did what they did. David McCullough is one of my favorite authors. I enjoyed his books on Harry Truman and John Adams.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
My dream is to help as many people as I can during the amount of time I have left on this earth. If my writing can have a positive influence on others, that is fantastic. I was once asked on a podcast, how I wanted to be remembered. After thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that I didn't really have any great desire to be remembered at all. I just wanted to make a positive difference in the lives of those around me.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
Since I've only written one book, I'm not sure I can answer that question just yet.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
They don't bother me. I lead my life with my heart. I know I did a good job; that I wrote something that will help others; and that I touched others in a positive way with my writing. You are always going to have people who don't like what you have written, just as there are going to be people who decide they don't like you even though they have never met you. We need to be more open to each other and take the time to get to know others. If I don't like someone, I hope it's because of the content of their character, not based solely on a book they wrote.
What would you say to your readers?
I hope that what I have written has made you think about your life, the lives or others, and how you treat yourself and others. We may not always agree with each other, but I promise to listen to your feedback and try to understand where you are coming from before I respond.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
My wife and I have been married for 27 years. We have a daughter who is a graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and an officer in Space Force. Our family has lived all over the United States.
What is your day job if you have one?
I am a cancer warrior. Trying to survive is my job right now.
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I like to read, exercise, play games, etc.
Did you have a happy childhood?
I had a great childhood. I had two parents who loved and supported me. I have two brothers who are successful educators. Neither of our parents graduated from college, but my brothers and I each have Master's degrees.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
Not really. I have always enjoyed writing and excelled in English and writing classes in school. I enjoyed creating a story or idea in my head and developing it on paper.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
I have several books that are unpublished. I have a business ethics book that I never tried to get published. I have a book of letters that I wrote to my daughter when I was a policeman, that are things I wanted to teach her or things I wanted her to know about me. I'll let her decide if she wants to publish that book or keep if for herself. I also have a cancer memoir that is about 450 pages.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Parents! Parents need to realize they are not their child's friend. Parents need to make the hard difficult, and many times, unpopular choices for their children. Not every child is a genius. We need to help our children develop their unique skills and abilities. We need to teach our children grit and that sometimes the other side wins. Just because you lose on the scoreboard, doesn't mean you are a loser. We need to teach our children about character and integrity.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
1. Peace on earth.
2. An end to poverty and disease.
3. That everyone would find and lead their uncommon and extraordinary life.
What is your favorite music?
Share a secret with us 🙂
I had my left leg amputated on April 21 of this year, right in the middle of the global pandemic!