Red was beginning to wonder if today was an unannounced holiday for the vertical height challenged as she filled her 300th order for hot chocolate, whip and cinnamon. Her heels gave her just enough height advantage to see over the throng of hats. She spied Rick Daley in the first booth signing copies of his book. She needed to get finished so she could ask him about the myth of diminutive stature.
M3: Rick, I know a bit more about you than the M3 Readers. Give them the book jacket version of you.
RD: Rick Daley has been writing professionally for over 15 years. His essays have been featured in The Columbus Dispatch. Rick lives in Lewis Center, Ohio with his wife and two sons (and a neurotic schnauzer). He enjoys cooking, playing guitar and bass, running, and yoga.
M3: There have been many on your road to success. Anyone you want to thank?
RD: I have a whole crowd of people to thank. It’s weird, because writing a book is such a solitary effort for the majority of the time…but the steps that require help, like critiques and editorial feedback, are so critical the years of isolation and self-doubt wouldn’t be worth it without them. And then there’s my family, who puts up with all my [mild expletive]!
M3: After reading your book, one would think in the glen, but where did you really get your start in the publishing industry?
RD: I started in my basement, like most other newbies. If you aren’t a celebrity, or a wealthy New York socialite, I think it’s the only place you can start. Hopefully I’ve paid my dues by now, I’m ready to move up a notch. I will find success if it doesn’t find me first.
M3: Starting low ensures a climb, eh? Any advice you can give the basement dwellers?
RD: Don’t give up. The only way to guarantee failure is to quit trying. There’s a quote in my book that sums it up: You are not measured by the challenges you face in life, but rather by the steps you take to overcome them. I guess you could go and tattoo that on your forehead, but that would be copyright infringement, so your best bet is to just keep writing.
M3: Lawfulness is certainly the preferred path. What do you have brewing at the moment?
RD: Right now I’m working on illustrations and interior design for my second children’s book, Rudy Toot-Toot. Rudy has a special power, almost like a super-hero: He can fart. It comes natural when you’re born on a bean farm. But when one monstrous emission scares all the customers away from the family bean market and the bank threatens to take away their farm, Rudy must find a way to use his talent to bring the customers back. ARCs will be available in May / June, and the formal release will be in September.
M3: I think Rudy’s power is more common than you may have first anticipated. Unlike your characters, the real world is in an economic slump. Has it changed the way you work?
RD: It makes me more determined to keep at it, because the job market sucks and I would rather get paid to stare out the window for hours on end, which is my favorite part of writing.
M3: Ah, yes. Priorities and discipline. So, good bet the M3 Readers should not care about your day job.
RD: Nope. I’ve kept my day job out of my blog and my writing, they are unrelated. This is mainly due to the fact that I want my writing to be interesting and exciting and my day job is boring as hell. I have also seen too many reports of people getting in trouble at work for things they post online. I value privacy.
M3: You may need to write a sequel to my primer for online privacy. How do you find time to write?
RD: I wake up early, and it sucks. I am not a morning person, but if I force myself to get up, start an IV drip with high-test coffee, and just start writing, then I can do it. The real key, for me at least, is to stop checking email, tweeting, posting to Facebook, blogging, and wasting time surfing and actually try to write when I get time at the computer.
M3: Good to know you did not say Double hot chocolate, whip and cinnamon. With a full calendar, do you go hiatus?
RD: Yeah, but not on purpose. I’m a world-class procrastinator. “Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until the day after tomorrow,” that’s my motto. So it’s not that I ever really stop, it just takes time and effort to switch gears. I have a long list of books to write, there is no shortage of ideas.
M3: Welcome to Procrastinators Be Us! Oh, wait, you already have the seal of approval. (Holds up book.) Tell me what makes this close to your heart.
RD: I think The Man in the Cinder Clouds is a special story. For some reason, The Muse picked me to tell it. I seriously doubt I’ll write another book quite this good. It’s a story-within-a-story (within a story), and I’m amazed at how the layers came together…it just works so well. It’s a fast, fun read, but it has great depth to its characters.
M3: It really is quite good. Tell the M3 Readers what makes it different from the others in the genre.
RD: The Man in the Cinder Clouds is an origins-of-Santa story, and while all the familiar Christmas traditions are in there, my version of how they came to be is unique, and each has a purpose that serves the story. The Legend of Kris Kringle has never been approached with this type of voice and style, it’s a realistic reboot (as realistic as you can get while still having flying reindeer and elves, that is). It’s similar to what Batman Begins did for the caped crusader.
M3: Note to self: Be on look out for motion picture. Screenwriters are a special breed. Tell me how you feel about your colleagues.
RD: My colleagues are the writers who critique my early drafts, and I wouldn’t succeed without them. I can’t thank them enough. They give me confidence when I need a boost, shred my work when I get too high and mighty, and help make my writing better in every regard.
M3: I think it is genetic. As an Indie, any particular bone you have to pick with the traditional publishing industry?
RD: Not yet. I’m pretty forgiving, in general. I think there’s a lot of opportunity out there, and things are changing so rapidly it’s tough to tell what to be mad about anyway. I hunt for silver linings. Some could say I am an optimist who sees the glass as half full, but in truth I am a cynic who sees the glass is made of clear plastic and is really just a cup.
M3: I think that is just realism, Rick. Do you think the industry has on rose-colored glasses with its own material and sees Indies as inferior?
RD: Yes, but that’s changing. The traditional industry will always pat itself on the back for being the Guardians of True Literature, which is kind of funny because all they are really doing is chasing trends, making their toughest decisions based more on financial data than words on the page. They have to, it’s their business model, and True Literature isn’t a hot seller. File that under “Sad but True.”
Indie authors can play by different rules. They can sell books in styles and genres that traditional publishers avoid (e.g. John Locke and Westerns) and in doing so they can find and fill market niches, and they can do it faster than a big publisher could dream of doing themselves.
M3: I like your angle on that. Have you had any triumphs over the Big Six?
RD: Not yet, I am waiting to unfurl my secret weapon. But the time is near…
M3: See, your internal optimist is showing. I think you may have already discovered it, though. As an Indie, you do not have the power of the machine behind you. How important is your personal promotion?
RD: These days, even for an author with the Big Six, individual effort on the author’s behalf is critical. But since I’m an indie author that goes double. The best thing I can hope for (and have received) is strong reviews and good word of mouth.
I’ve been to schools and libraries, and I’ve developed an interactive writing workshop so there’s more to a visit than a plea to buy my books. That’s where I stand to make the biggest impact with teachers and their students.
M3: Those are all great practices. May need to introduce you to someone in the Green Room. So, share a secret with me. What do you want me to not tell the M3 Readers?
RD: I hope you don’t tell people not to buy my books! That would be highly counter-productive. And please don’t tell people this is just a Christmas story, because there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s a great read any day of the year.
M3: (Laughing) It is so much more than that. Wrap it up by giving the M3 Readers the skinny on why they should buy your book in 15 words or less.
RD: You will enjoy reading it. What better reason to buy a book?
M3: Great reason! We will have to do this again when Rudy’s adventure comes out in September.
Darling M3 Readers,
Please take a few moments to check out Ricky Daley and The Man in the Cinder Clouds. Visit Rick’s blog to learn more about the author and his book. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on his upcoming books.
Thank you for your unwavering support of the talented M3 Coffee Shoppe authors. When you tweet and +1 this post, please use the hashtags #authors, #books and #WW.
(c) Ann Marie Dwyer 2012
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