Thanks to Brian Holers, author of Doxology, for this interview
How long have you been writing?
I talked about it for many years, but I finally got sick of what was on television and started writing after I sold a business seven years ago.
Do you have a day job or do you write for a living?
In my day job I work as an arborist, and most of the time I enjoy it. For a couple of years after I sold my first business, I spent days writing (not for a living by any means), but I like this life better. I work in the daytime, spend a lot of time with my thoughts, and then I go to my desk for an hour or two at night after my son goes to sleep. Having a structure to my days helps me focus. And focus is the key for me. I approach writing in much the same way as I approach other tasks in life. My joy comes not so much from the finished product as from the process it takes me to get there.
What do you feel is the ideal recipe for a good novel/story/poem?
I’m not sure there’s an ideal recipe. Maybe there is, but I never went to school to study writing so I don’t know any of the recipes. But whether writing a novel, story or poem, the goal is the same: write something that makes people care. There are a zillion different ways to get there, but making the reader care is the most important ingredient I have found.
What/who inspired you to write and still inspires you?
I am inspired by the entire world of imaginary people who live nowhere other than inside my head. I’ve found that if I write and give them a chance at external expression, they don’t interrupt the rest of my life so much. And, unlike me, my imaginary friends always say whatever they are thinking, win all their battles and rarely make poor decisions. Who wouldn’t want to write about such admirable people?!
What books have you written? Do you stick to one genre?
I have one completed novel, one well under way, and one still in my head. Though I left home for Seattle, Washington, 23 years ago, all my fiction is set in rural north Louisiana. All explore similar themes of love among flaws, crushing loss and the oh-so-human need for God in human life. My first novel, Doxology, is a blue-collar Southern tale of relationships between fathers, sons and brothers. My novel in progress, Miracle Run, is a story of a man trying to turn away from brokenness and make himself a suitable father for a son he once abandoned, just as he was once abandoned.
What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
How many of us have heard something like this when we mention our writing, “I’ve always thought about writing”? Thinking about writing is phenomenally easy. Writing, on the other hand, will likely be the hardest thing you ever do. It will take away everything inside you, break your heart, frustrate you, make you crazy, and tell you over and over again just to turn on the television and stop kidding yourself. There are no shortcuts. As Thomas Edison once said of genius, writing is 99% perspiration with only a bit of inspiration. The quality of your writing is a function of the amount of time you spend at your writing desk. Until you’ve put in years and years, and have reached an expert level (which I certainly have not yet), it will just be hard. So reward yourself for small accomplishments and take pride in any little thing you write that sounds good. You’ll know fast if you want to keep doing it.
Which character from your books do you like most/are most like?
I have characters in all my books that do little more than provide comic relief. They think wild thoughts, ramble all over the place, and jump up and down when they are excited about something. They say whatever they are thinking, no matter how weird or inappropriate. Major characters take a ton of energy to develop, and require constant monitoring and truth testing. But the lesser characters do and say whatever they want. I’m not saying I actually resemble such a person, I just wish a lot of the time that I did.
Marketing, the bane of self-publishers - how do you find the experience? Do you have any advice for other writers? Do you use a blog or twitter, etc?
I have never met a writer who liked marketing. But we’ve gotta do it, so why complain? Here’s my advice take it slow and steady, and make friends first. One thing I’ve learned from being in business for years is that people will want to work with you, help you and buy whatever you are selling because they like you. Much the same as a reader has to care about a character before reading on, so our online acquaintances only become friends when they get to know us a little bit.
What other hobbies/interests do you have or has writing taken over?
My other hobby is baseball. It’s the greatest game ever played. I loved baseball when I was a kid, but I was never really all that good. I’m still not all that good, but I’ve just outlasted a lot of other guys. I’ll be 45 this year, and I am finally getting a chance to catch and pitch, which I never got when I was a kid. And most of the other old guys like me can’t throw hard enough to strike me out any more, so I can finally hit too.
What would you like to achieve in the next five years?
In the next five years, I just hope to keep doing what I’m doing now and get another couple of books done. I hope to continue to get more knowledgeable about trees. I hope to watch my son grow up into a fine man, which I hope to be one day myself.
If you won the Lotto, what would you do with all that dosh?
I would never win the Lotto because I would never play the Lotto. Playing the lottery perpetuates the belief that responsibility for our own selves is out of our hands. Such a mentality reinforces a common human belief in victimhood. I don’t have a problem per se with casinos and all varieties of gambling venues, but I frankly despise gambling sponsored by governments.
Finally, what question do you wish I’d asked and, of course, what is the answer?
I wish you’d asked me who is going to be the next American president. Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer.
Fathers, sons and brothers reconnect over tragedy in this blue-collar Southern tale of love, loss and the healing power of community and family.
Vernon Davidson is an angry man. After a lifetime of abuse and loss the 61-year-old is ready to get back at God, his co-workers, and everyone else is in his north Louisiana hometown. He drinks too much to numb the pain, shuns his friends and embarrasses himself in the community. The once-cautious Vernon spirals into a reckless mess.
Only when he is reunited with his estranged nephew Jody is he forced to confront his situation. Jody is struggling in equal parts after inflicting a self-imposed exile upon himself by fleeing the family, and thereby himself, for a new life thousands of miles away. Now his father, Vernon’s brother, is dying and Vernon agrees to retrieve him for his brother’s sake.
Jody embarks on a reluctant journey back to his Louisiana home and the two men together embark on a journey that will ultimately change their lives.
Doxology examines an impossibly difficult question: how does a man go about forgiving a God he has grown to despise after the tragedies and disappointments he has faced?
Doxology currently has 16 5-star, 6 4-star and 3 3-star reviews on Amazon.com.
You can read part of Chapter 1 here: http://brianholers.com/books/doxology-chapter-1/
Thanks for reading! Have a cool day!
If you would like to do an interview or guest post on my blog, please email me at hellovickie at hotmail dot com