Name: Derek Adam
Where are you from: I was born in a wee town called Owosso in Michigan, but spent most of my life in the metro Detroit area where is where I currently live now
A little about your self `ie your education Family life etc
I’m the worst kind of person for planning when it comes to personal stuff. Which is amusing given that my career for the last decade has been in marketing which requires a ton of planning. I’m just way more spontaneous. That resulted in a lot of job hopping over the years, trying new things, playing with new hobbies. Now at 36, I’m like a jack of all trades and master of like… three. That also means I didn’t stick with anything education wise. I studies psychology, then switched to emergency medicine and did that for a while. No formal education in writing though – I actually tested out of my required English courses in college because I didn’t want to have to take them!
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
My biggest journey right now is to finally get healthy. I caught a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes at the beginning of the year (2017) and immediately made some drastic changes. Happy to say at this point that I’m down 80 lbs, diabetes is under control, and I’m in better shape than I have been in almost 20 years. Exciting stuff!
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always been really creative. I’m the youngest of 5 siblings, none of which had any real inclination to play with me when I was a kid. I usually went and did my own thing and relied on my imagination. I started writing stories in like 5th grade and never stopped. There were also a LOT of Dungeons and Dragons campaigns written in my teens. Big foundation in fantasy and sci fi.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably about 10 years ago. When I retired from EMS I started freelance writing to work from home. Clients loved my work and it came naturally. I haven’t looked back since. It’s great to finally move from non-fiction business writing to embracing my imagination again.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, and had been working on one fantasy book for years but it was hard-core stalled. I linked up with an old friend I hadn’t seen since 7th grade and she encouraged me to scrap it and start over with something I knew. Like my EMS career.
3 weeks later, I finished writing my first book, Mass Casualty. I give Jillian Elizabeth a ton of credit for helping to inspire me even though she refuses to take credit.
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
I was influenced a lot by Koontz. He has always been one of my favorite authors. The first time I read Odd Thomas I immediately locked onto the way Koontz handled first person story telling. It felt natural to me while reading it, putting me in the characters shoes. The first time I tried writing that way, I was hooked. I think, for me, it’s the best way to tell my stories.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
It wasn’t even a brainstorm session. I didn’t cycle through titles. I had just started writing the new book and when I went to save it I realized I hadn’t titled it yet. And I just typed it. “Mass Casualty.” It was perfect. It fit everything I wanted to convey in the book.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
For sure. The men and women that work in emergency medical services are taxed to their limits on a daily basis. It’s a roller coaster of emotions that you can’t really show. You have to keep doing your job, taking care of your patients. It takes a tremendous mental toll, to the point that some people choose to end their lives early. Others lose their way. It’s a thankless job, and in writing Mass Casualty I wanted to inject the reader into their shoes to really experience the psychological and emotional trauma we experience every time we climb in a truck for a shift.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The majority of the incidents in Mass Casualty were influenced by encounters that either I, or someone I knew, had with patients. When readers experience these traumatic events in the book, they’re going through incidents that are very realistic, and indicative of the kinds of things EMS professionals like myself experience every day.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most? a mentor?
I have a few that I love, that fill my bookshelves: Dean Koontz, R.A .Salvatore, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (Dragonlance), Stephen King. There’s also a lot of poetry that I’ve digested over the years. Absolutely love Robert Frost, his work has been a large influence on my writing and deep thinking.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest and who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Amy Briggs. I’m new to the romance genre so I’ve been trying to read as much as I can from other authors to experience what this genre has to offer. So far, Amy’s work has been the most impressive and immersive to me. I love her writing style.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Jillian. She has been there for me every step of the way through Mass Casualty, from the moment she encouraged me to write it. I honestly can’t imagine what life would be like without this woman now. I’m so excited that we’re teaming up to work on additional books in the same universe as Mass Casualty.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Absolutely. Up to this point everything has been non-fiction writing for businesses, but my goal is to transition to full time fiction writing.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not at all. I’m very proud of where it’s at and the feedback from beta and ARC readers has been tremendous.
Fiona: Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
A lot of free time as a kid. I had so many little toys (army men, micro machines, legos, etc) and I would create these intricate scenes and playscapes with them. I started writing to give more life to that stuff and get the scenes out of my head.
Fiona: Can you share a little of your current work with us?
Yes! So the next book after Mass Casualty is called Due Soldati. I’m writing this one with coauthor Jillian Elizabeth. It features two characters that made a brief appearance in Mass Casualty – two homicide detectives. Due Soldati, Italian for “Two Soldiers, tells the backstory of Carter Avery and Nick Farzo in a fast-paced romance/cop thriller as they work to solve a string of murders in a tight time frame before all hell breaks loose in the city of Detroit.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Not so far, but it’s I’ve only just begun. I imagine some day I’ll come up against some hurdles that slow me down. I’m not the type to give in though, so bring those challenges on.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Nope, but I’m looking forward to heading to some of the author conventions in the next year to meet some readers and fellow authors.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Emma Rider of AWT Cover Designs, who is absolutely amazing to work with. She’s a sweetheart, a great designer, and I love her face.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I had to dredge up some memories and go to some pretty dark places that I hadn’t gone in a long time. Drawing on past experiences means unlocking doors that should have stayed shut. I had to relive a lot of grief and pain to draw inspiration for Mass Casualty – the hardest part being that it doesn’t come out in a trickle. You unlock those doors and everything comes out, including the people I knew who couldn’t cope with the difficulties of the work and wound up taking their own life.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Despite being 36, I can still run on just a few hours of sleep. Also, writing romance resulted in writing myself horny more than once which is an interesting experience.
Fiona: If any of your books was made into a film who would you like to play the lead
Probably someone like Dominic Purcell for the lead (Bobbie), and Chris Pratt for his partner (Hunter)
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Just write. Write what you know. Write what feels good. Don’t overthink it. It’s art. You can’t every overthink art. You have to feel it.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I am absolutely humbled by the responses I’ve received so far. The idea that I have fans, even before the book is published (June 1st for Mass Casualty) is crazy to me. I love all you magnificent people.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Fired Up by Amy Briggs, part of her Brotherhood series. LOVE it.
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
Vividly. I was maybe 7 or 8. I read Stephen King’s IT. That hooked me on finding stuff with similar depth and gave me a love of thriller/horror stuff.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
So many things. I love to laugh. I try to inject humor in everything. I spent a lot of years wrestling with depression and it feels good to be alive. I don’t want to waste it. I take every chance to laugh with those around me, over whatever.
Fiona: Is there one person pass or present you would meet and why?
Of all the people in the world, I would love to sit down and have an evening with Gary Oldman. I love his range in acting. He fascinates me and I’m a huge fan.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone and why ?
“They can never say he didn’t try.” If I found something I wanted to do, I did it. I tried it. Even if I failed, and I’ve failed a lot, it was important to me to give it a go. It’s how I shaped who I am today. Even those failures are a part of me. I’m proud of that, and proud that my children will have that as a model for living their lives.
Fiona: Other than writing do you have any hobbies ?
Holy hell, a lot. Comes from trying so many things: gaming, sketching, working with clay, painting, paintball, fishing, camping, hiking, shooting at the range, hunting is fun, I still play with legos and hot wheels with my son, love movies, picnics… I could seriously go on forever.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
Deep, deep stories with great twists and arcs. Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Fringe just to name a few. With movies I prefer a little more comedy or action. Also a fan of the survival reality shows – not the ones with contestants but the ones that actually show people making their way and living their lives in remote locations. That rugged lifestyle fascinates me.
Fiona: Favorite foods / Colors/ Music
I’ve switched to loving healthier foods now as I work on cutting weight and getting lean – 6 months ago I would have said pizza. Not now. Now it’s all about good protein. I’ll still wreck some ice cream though…
Color? Green. Love Green. Green is smart, sexy, and attractive to me.
Music: EDM, heavy metal and acapella. I know that’s a weird mix but I spent every year and every semester in choir from 7th grade through graduation and I love to sing (one more hobby)
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
If I couldn’t express myself through writing, I don’t know if I would want to be alive anymore. I can’t imagine doing anything else in life.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? If so what is it?
No website yet. Eventually. Plenty of other links though!
Facebook page: facebook.com/authorderekadam