Red was buttering fresh buttermilk biscuits when she was convinced she heard hoof beats in the café of the M3 Coffee Shoppe. Standing at the counter ordering a black and sweet was Mac Kinnon with a freshly shod bay mare. She shook her head and told Claret to make it two and both large. Time to sit on the patio and talk about construction, Tommy Lee Jones and ADHD.
M3: Mac, give the M3 Readers what you told your agent about yourself.
MK: I worked 42 years as a journeyman ironworker, carpenter, electrician, insurance salesman, some real estate and furniture builder. I was a foreman, pusher (ironworker foreman), superintendent, project manager, estimator, quality control person and safety enforcer. I started writing on a jobsite and am now retired and working on a sequel.
M3: We have held a few of the same jobs. Do you have someone you want to thank besides the horse?
MK: I can thank my older sister who died in 2008. We had many late night conversations and talks. She was never too busy to talk to me. Through all of these late night chats, she encouraged me to put all of these thoughts on paper.
M3: Supportive family means the world. With the resumé you give as an introduction, should the M3 Readers care about your non-day job?
MK: Naw. Most of my writing comes from events that occurred in the 42 years of day jobs. I love to watch people. They are funny. I don’t say that in a demeaning way. People are just comical. Being raised in the south and then living in the north for 15 years was a Godsend of ideas and songs. I am thankful that I have been able to actually live in many different places during my life. There has always been a day job.
M3: Should we trade seats so you can see back into the café? (Laughs) Sounds like work has always been a primary focus for you. How do you find time to write?
MK: It’s easy to find time now. I am retired because of my age and the economy. I guess I really can thank my congressmen for something after all. If I hadn’t become unemployed, I may have never finished this book. I never thought of that before.
M3: Get used to that around me. Where did you get started on the path to publishing?
MK: I have always had an active imagination, with thoughts and ideas running through my head. I started writing back in Pennsylvania in 1998 on a boring job site. I had nothing to do and since I am ADHD, I had to find something to keep me occupied, so I started writing in my spare time on the site.
M3: Breaux did not start out as a book, but as a screenplay. How did it evolve into this instead?
MK: When I started writing the screenplay, I was thinking of Tommy Lee Jones as Breaux. He was the only actor that could fit in Breaux’s boots.
M3: He is slightly demanding when it comes to scripts. Is a screenplay still in the works?
MK: It is still in the works for sure. I have taken courses in the past for scriptwriting and I am fascinated with the whole process. I am ready to present a screenplay when the time is right.
M3: So, Breaux will be making appearances in other venues?
MK: You bet he will. He’s not finished yet. As the old saying goes, “it ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings and she ain’t even cleared her throat yet.”
M3: What sort of sequel do you have brewing?
MK: I am almost finished with a semi-sequel to Breaux. It is named “The Escape” for now. It is different in that the time is several years in the future, and Breaux is remembered. It is action-packed and involves many situations of escape for the couple. I can’t tell you any more because I might give away the essence of the plot. It will become available in the near future. You see, I write like I answer the phone. If I feel like it, I answer it. If I don’t feel like it, I don’t answer it. I don’t like my naps interrupted.
M3: I have a healthy respect for that attitude, which reminds me to turn off the BlackBerry. Do you follow the same vein when it comes to hiatus?
MK: I’m on a hiatus every day. I’m retired. I don’t think I need a break from anything right now. It’s kind of like Willie Nelson when he was asked when he would retire. He asked the interviewer, “What am I going to retire. All I do now is play music and golf. That is retirement for sure.”
M3: Now that you have finished your first book and have moved on to another, do you have any advice for a newbie?
MK: The best advice I can give a new writer would be to write your book the way you would want to read it. If you don’t like it, others probably won’t like it either. Make it comfortable.
M3: That is good advice. Has the state of the economy changed the way you perform?
MK: I am not sure what you mean by perform, but my life has changed since the economy took a dump. I have cut back on some things, but overall, it has not changed me. I didn’t trust the government before the economy sank and I don’t trust them now.
M3: Perhaps getting away from Vegas and back to Texas will change your opinion a bit. You are rather candid about so much. Got any secrets you might be willing to share with me if I were to keep it a secret?
MK: Well, now. There are many things I don’t want anyone to know about me. Maybe they don’t need to know that I am grouchy sometimes. Maybe you don’t need to tell them that I have a tendency to feel that I am perfect in every way. You know that it’s hard to be humble when you’re that way. (Laughs) That was joke! Maybe there just isn’t anything to tell them.
M3: Self-realization is perfection, Mac. Let’s talk about your new colleagues.
MK: I feel that my colleagues are just like me. They have a message that they are trying to get across to others. Some do it in a very subtle way, while others are boisterous. It is their choice as to how they present the plot of their books. Whether I agree with their views or not is irrelevant. At least they put their feelings on paper. That is a positive note for sure.
M3: What makes this book close to your heart?
MK: Because I have lived this book. Although it is a fictional work there is a lot of truth in it. I love Breaux for who he is, a genuine person who can be trusted and deserves everybody’s respect because he earned it.
M3: The Great American Novel is a popular pool. How is Breaux different from all the others?
MK: There are many good works on the market today. Breaux is different in the respect that it is an easy read and is written in a way that even a slow reader can appreciate.
M3: Let’s talk shop for a bit. You went the route of self-publishing. Do you think the traditional publishers see self-published work as inferior?
MK: Yes. Not all self-produced work is inferior. The industry does not like self-produced work because they cannot control it. Since they cannot control the situation, they present the work as inferior. Personally, I think the industry is jealous of the individualism being displayed.
M3: Interesting take on it. Have you had any industry triumphs?
MK: Yes and no. I have successfully published a book. I have written the great American novel. I consider that a triumph in itself. Most of my life I have been on the opposite side and have had to prove myself. Writing is really no different from proving a method to the boss on a construction site. Everybody has to prove themselves every day.
M3: Respect is where you earn it, and it carries a lot of weight in the marketing arena. How important is your own marketing?
MK: I’m from the old school where marketing was mostly word of mouth. The new marketing techniques are Greek to me. I am learning that it is a very important part of the process. Although I have had to sell myself to others most of my life, I never really learned how to market myself. The bottom line is that if I don’t market, my works don’t sell. If my works don’t sell, I don’t make enough money to publish my next book.
M3: Be your own agent and tell the M3 Readers why they should buy your book in 15 words or less.
MK: Everybody needs a hero and that is what Breaux really is.
M3: Heroes are a dying breed. I hope to see you again when the next book comes out.
Darling M3 Readers,
Settle in for an easy read with Mac Kinnon’s Breaux: An American Icon. Find out more about the author. Visit his blog, follow him on Twitter and stop by to like the Facebook fan page. Enter to win one of three copies of the book. You can enter more times everyday.
As always, thank you for your fantastic support of the talented authors and artists of the M3 Coffee Shoppe.
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