Fiona: Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona McVie.
Lets’ get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us you name. What is your age?
D.L….I’m Dan Coleman, and I’m 75 as of October 18.
Fiona: Where are you from?
D.L.:…I live in North Carolina, U.S.A., but am from Virginia, nearby.
Fiona:…A little about yourself(i.e. education, family life, etc.)
D.L.:…I have three grown children, two grandchildren who live close by. I’m officially retired but have a small business development interest in wholesale apparel & related goods under the trademarked of Pier Pilot®.
Fiona:…Tell us your latest news.
D.L.:…Well, as to writing, Foul Shot is this latest thing I have going. The second, a sequel in the Wray Larrick series, is nearly finished and will be published in a few months, either by a traditional company or by myself, if things don’t work out. And they generally don’t.
Fiona:…When and why did you begin writing?
D.L.:…I started at age sixteen, wrote two sentences, then took off the next ten years to think of a third one. I began writing because it was a natural progression away from drawing and painting, which I enjoyed as a kid—the only thing I could focus on for five minutes or more outside of sports, football and track & field, without the “field” part; I was runner, a sprinter. I’d also had many experiences as a kid most of my contemporaries hadn’t had, and that had an influence on me, I think, regarding literary writing.
Fiona:…When did you first consider yourself a writer?
D.L.:…When I started writing novels and humor in my mid-twenties.
Fiona:…What inspired you to write your first book?
D.L.:…My experiences in the Marine Corps overseas, in Japan.
Fiona:…How did you come up with the title?
D.L.:…Quickly and easily. We were a crass, irreverent bunch in a similar environment, and the title was The Crass Menagerie, a literary work, not yet published.
Fiona:…Do you have a particular writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
D.L.:…Depending on the P.O.V. I’m writing in, it can be terse or conversational, but I do either without difficulty. I can alter styles because I’ve been doing it so long. Not sure how difficult it might be for some readers. So far, no complaints, but, of course, my market has been limited as a writer not widely published.
Fiona:…How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
D.L.:…With the mysteries the settings are real places, the stories and characters are completely contrived for entertainment only.
Fiona:…To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
D.L.:…On occasions I go to places and get details of environment I might have missed previously when there. It can be before I start or during the writing.
Fiona:…Who designed the covers?
D.L.:…Only Foul Shot has a cover, by Rita Toews, who used a stock image to my satisfaction. Can’t remember who the designer was—it’s been a while– mostly because it is from a stock design, with just the title and author name over it. It’ll come to me.
Fiona:…Is there a message in your novel you want readers to grasp?
D.L.:…Not in Foul Shot or the other mysteries. They’re strictly entertainment. In the literary there certainly are messages that evolve, though I don’t start with preconceived messages.
Fiona:…Are there any new authors who have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
D.L.:…No new writers. Regarding mystery it’s James Lee Burke, but I have several. But Burke’s strength is in his characters, the odd assemblage of people who surround us but whom we might not see as he describes them to us. The plots are secondary in his stories; it’s always about the weirdos or their weird behavior or personalities.
Fiona:…Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
D.L.:…None. Not sure about supporting a commitment, but encouragement from a couple English teachers in high school and college, and a few local writing prizes, helped validate any talent they thought I might have had. But I was already writing and was going to write anyway, with or without anyone’s encouragement, because I had things to say in the literary genre. The interest in mystery, aside from the literary, is something I acquired, having been involved in studying actual crimes and reading non-fiction crime books and stories, all beginning, incidentally, in the late 1970s with the Sutcliff serial murders in Britain I found fascinating, like a puzzle to be solved.
Fiona:…Do you see writing as a career?
D.L.:…I saw it as a possible career in my late twenties and through my thirties, when I dedicated over a decade to it and it never worked out, so I don’t plan on it. It’s just a hobby now, but I would write full-time if the opportunity arose.
Fiona:…If you had it to do all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
D.L.:…Only the occasional typo I find. Otherwise, not a thing.
Fiona:…Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Fiona:…If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
D.L.:…I have no idea. I don’t go to movies or keep up with show biz folks, but I’d know if a particular person was right or not.
Fiona:…Any advice for other writers?
D.L.:…Yes and no. Advice is cheap. Even your enemies, if you have them, will offer it for free. But if you have to work for a living, you’d better do that first, then write as a sideline until you can make it on a writer’s income, which happens to about one in every 2,000,000 people who call themselves writers. And that’s being conservative. The world is full of good writers who’ll never see a word in print unless they put it there themselves.
Fiona:…Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
D.L.:…Yes, if you seem to like the current story, there are sequels almost finished in the Wray Larrick mystery series, one set in Japan in the 1960s, a murder-espionage story with a serial killer spy(3rd person POV); a second is set in Virginia Beach and Myrtle Beach(1st person POV again), both in the U.S.A., down south. Another murder mystery, unrelated to the series—a stand-alone—is also partially done and features a profession assassin who is the protagonist.
Fiona:…What book are you currently reading?
D.L.:…None. I just finished a murder mystery, and a biography of Richard Nixon. My reading is eclectic. I read in spurts, and intensely, then not at all for a while. Just like I write.
Fiona:…Do you remember the first book you read?
D.L.:…Adult reading, yes. It was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, then Richard Tregaskis’ Guadalcanal Diary. I was fifteen. I’ve been reading newspapers all my life.
Fiona:…What makes you laugh/cry?
D.L.:…I don’t do crying, but a lot makes me laugh. I get a lot of humor out of life. It’s as funny astragic.
Fiona:…Is there one person, past or present, you would like to meet? Why?
D.L.:… Outside a good literary agent and a contracting editor & publisher, there might be many, but none specifically. The people I admire from history tend to be serious characters of important work, past and present, are too numerous. I tend to admire people more for their courage—their BRASS—than their popularity alone. I don’t worship idols, but Columbo would be a kick.
Fiona:…Do you have any hobbies?
D.L.:…Yes. Other than writing, I have my small business interest and daily exercise regimen, as well as spending a lot of time and resources supporting my grandchildren in their own activities.
Fiona:…What TV shows, films do you enjoy watching?
D.L.:…News and educational programming.
Fiona:…Favorite foods, colors, music?
D.L.:…Whatever gets in my way, but not greasy stuff. I’m not big on trying new things in food. Too risky. Music taste is eclectic, but I like a lot of the 60s and 70s stuff, of course, because that was my generation.
Fiona:…Imagine a future where you no longer write. What do you do?
D.L.:…Read. And live at the ocean. And keep moving.
Fiona:…What do you want written on your head stone?
D.L.:…”He carried a clipboard and was taken seriously.” Hell, I don’t know.
Fiona:…Do you have a blog or web site readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
D.L.:…No blog or web site yet(it’s coming)—I’m a computer dummy—but have a Facebook page(Dan Coleman, Always Something) on which I post almost daily commentary on any number of subjects, including sharp criticisms of persons and events in the public arena. Not for the timid or extra-sensitive, though the language is clean. I don’t do selling there, just an occasional mention of the book or something related to it. It’s available on Amazon, including free sample chapters.
Native of Hampton Roads, Virginia, specifically Newport News and Hampton, on the lower peninsula. Attended Christopher Newport College of the College of William & Mary, after service in the U.S. Marine Corps, and graduated from Christopher Newport College in Political Science. Lived for years in the Carolinas, South and North. Officially retired from sales and marketing, and involved in small business development. Have a page at www.crimespace.com, and on Facebook (Dan Coleman, Always Something). Have had a Twitter account for years but don’t know what to do with it. It might bite me.
I feel like this book offers a different insight from other interviews I’ve read lately and that’s really nice. It really got my attention the saying of advice being cheap and how even your enemies will offer it for free. it is true there is a lot of work involved and between millions of writings, only a few are able to make a sustainable career out of it that sets them for life.
It is quite pleasing to read for someone that grew with the ’60s and ’70s music that have been related to writing for a long time, that felt sure o it with or without encouragement. Glad your teachers did give you some of it.
It sounds to me like you allowed writing to be a part of you through most of your life and still going even if you have decided not to pursue it as a primary way of income and that for me it is very inspiring. You have gone through different things through the decades and develop your narrative styles so nicely you can switch at ease. That is really cool. I hope that even if I never end up publishing myself I can get to write all my life.