iUniverse welcomes back Douglas Gardham, who tells us more about his writing inspirations.
So, tell us more about The Drive In . . .
The inspiration behind writing The Drive In was somewhat unexpected—I guess that why it’s called inspiration. It started with the desire to publish a couple of short stories to help promote my first novel the STARbook awarded The Actor. As I began looking back at the many short stories I’d written over the years, editors at iUniverse suggested I put a collection together. At first, I wasn’t excited about the idea but it grew on me, after remembering an idea I’d had years before during one of my morning commutes to work. Every day I passed the same houses, businesses and landmarks not knowing what went on inside or anything about them. I thought it would be a unique way to put a short story collection together; each place passed being a different short story with the driver’s thoughts and observations connecting them.
After reviewing about two-dozen stories I’d written over the past 20 years, I narrowed my selection down to ten. It was still too many as this was to be a “drive in” not a “road trip”. The double meaning of the title “The Drive In” was also appealing. In their “heyday”, drive-in movie theaters were all the rage but now are a relic of our past. In a way, they represent change or progress that became one of the themes of the driver’s story. After choosing six stories, I started into what I thought would be an easy-to-write connecting story of a man driving to work. That wasn’t quite the case, as the connecting story became an important story on its own. As the great Mark Twain once commented, “if I had more time I would write you a shorter letter”. The time grew and The Drive In shortened. I couldn’t be more pleased with the result as the connecting story became somewhat cathartic to my own in dealing with the transition from career engineer working in manufacturing to this full-time writer thing.
So much has happened since the publication of my first novel The Actor that The Drive In seems particularly fitting as a natural progression in my new world of full-time writing. Writing The Drive In not only helped bring closure to my previous world but new energy to this new one.
Never give up on the things you love, and listen to your inner self.
What future plans do you have, both with marketing and with further novels?
I’m deep in the follow-up novel to The Actor. It’s taking most of my writing time. I will do another short story collection at some point in the future as well. I will continue promoting both The Actor and The Drive In through social media (Twitter is huge for me but also Facebook and LinkedIn) and the many other media outlets i.e. video, television, radio and print. I’m very active in book events including book signings, book clubs and various appearances having completed 72 to date and 11 more scheduled in 2015. I can’t imagine doing this “writing thing” today without connecting with people and the many book lovers and constant readers out there. And more reading — I never seem to read as much as I want or need to.
What was your favorite part of your publishing experience, overall and with iUniverse?
My favorite part of the publishing experience is seeing The Actor and The Drive In reach their completed forms. I also very much enjoyed working with George Nedeff and Brian Hallbauer
Finally, what advice would you give to aspiring authors?
The answer to this question is summarized in the points below, each could be expanded upon at length.
- Find who you love and want to and who loves you. Surround yourself with these people.
- Find what you love to do. If it’s writing then write and write and write … but never stop searching. I believe what we love to do is inextricably linked to what our purpose is.
- Learn discipline. Discipline is an easy word to say but it’s an attribute that does not come naturally to us humans. We have to learn and work at it everyday. It starts with our first action of the day. It’s important in doing almost anything in life.
- Keep showing up which is really saying live up to your commitments to the best that you can. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it.
- Be true to yourself that may be the most difficult thing of all. The good news is that it’s our decision. The bad news … it’s our decision.
- … and whatever you do realize you have to “do the work”.
Doug is also available on social media at:
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