Welcome to Ask the Author! In these series published authors will share their experiences with us, allow us a glimpse into their creative processes, and shed some light on the steps that helped them become a published writer. We do hope that emerging authors or writers-in-the-making will find these interviews useful.
About the Author: David Cole, author of The Math Kids Series, published by Common Deer Press.
What do you write about?
I am currently working on three different projects. The first is The Math Kids series. I just finished initial edits for book 4 in the series and I’m working on the first version of book 5 and doing some initial outlining on book 6. I have also completed a longer YA book called The Window. This was an idea that popped into my head a year or so ago and I’ve worked on it on and off since then. My newest project is a book tentatively called Two Weeks in October. It is a novel of the relationship between a man and his dying father who have always been connected through baseball.
Why do you write?
I have a technical job and writing helps me to channel the other side of my brain. I’ve found that writing helps me to clear my head and allows me to focus more when it comes to the technical work I do.
What do you love about it?
I have always been an avid reader and have always loved getting lost in a story. When I write, I’ve found that the story doesn’t always go the way it started and the reader side of me enjoys seeing how the story is going to turn out. When I put a manuscript aside for a couple of weeks, I love coming back and reading it with a fresh set of eyes.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
The first book in The Math Kids series only took me about two weeks to go from concept to first rough draft. Then the hard part began, taking that rough draft to a level presentable to a publisher. That part took about three months.
What inspired it and what motivated you to finish the story?
I have coached elementary school math teams for years and ran a summer math camp for 3rd – 6th grade students for six years. I found that kids related to the stories and games we used to get them interested in math. It struck me that I could incorporate this into a series of books that would be educational but, most of all, fun to read.
What do you find most challenging about writing?
There are times when the words just aren’t flowing. I’ve found that when the writing is going well, I can write page after page with no effort. When it’s not going well, I might agonize over a single sentence for an hour.
What do you do besides writing?
For work, I lead a team that designs the monitoring systems for some of the largest data centers across the globe. For fun, I enjoy reading, traveling, coaching math teams, and spending time with my family.
Describe your ideal writing weather?
I love writing in the rain or snow.
Where do you write best? What is your preferred writing space?
Most of my writing is done in my home office, but I also write quite a bit from my hotel desk when I’m traveling. I’ve tried writing on planes, but that’s never worked out for me.
Time of day?
Mornings and evenings work best for me.
Inspiration or discipline?
I’m not an overly disciplined writer. Some days I may write for hours. Other days, the words aren’t there, and I don’t try to fight it.
How do you overcome the writer’s block?
I try to work on multiple projects, so if one is not flowing for me on a particular day I can switch to something else that may work a little better. There are days, though, when nothing seems to be working. On those days, I try not to force it as I’ve found I end up tossing anything I write anyway.
The First Publication
How did it feel when you got your first acceptance letter?
It was exciting to think that I had written something that might be good enough for someone to take a chance on me. It was especially fun because it was an acceptance of the first three books in my series, so it was like getting three acceptance letters at the same time!
Who was the first person you shared the news with?
My son and daughter were early readers of my work, so they got the news first.
How did you mark the occasion?
I think we opened a nice bottle of wine that night (maybe two!).
If you could talk to a writer, alive or dead, who would it be? What would you ask them?
Stephen King is one of my favorite authors and I’d love to sit down over a couple of beers and talk about his experiences in writing. He was once asked why he writes what he does, and he responded with “what makes you think I have any choice?” I’ve always loved that answer and I think it absolutely applies to me. I’ve found my best writing just flows from someplace deep within and I don’t have a lot of choice what comes out.