Saturday, May 22, 2010

Author Q 'n' A: Darin Waugh

Interview with Darin Waugh, author of Smacking The Muse

Darin, tell us a bit about yourself and what you do when not writing:

When I’m not writing I’m usually teaching martial arts, spending time with friends and family (especially my wife), or working on starting a new home health care business.

Are there any other authors, artists, musicians, in your family?

My father plays guitar and my sister did well as a competitive singer, but I have a special place in my heart for my Great Grandmother Waugh, whom I never met. She was a published writer, and though she didn’t really have a lot of success, I still feel inspired by her.

Darin, please tell us a bit about Darin, the writer. When did you begin writing, why, and your writing hopes and dreams:

When I was in elementary school my best friend, Tim Dukeman, got me interested in comic books. We would walk to the pharmacy after school every Wednesday to buy the newest comics and for some reason we thought we should create our own comic book. Well, we both set out trying to learn how to draw. Tim actually excelled as an artist and worked really hard at it. I found out that I couldn’t draw very well so I decided to write the stories for our comic book. But, even though this was my original inspiration for writing, I believe it has always been my destiny to write.

Now at this point in my life, at 48 years old, I wish I had decided at a younger age to make writing into a career. Instead, I went to college and earned a degree in health education. My dream now is to be a successful writer, and that means having an agent and a publisher that I can work with to bring my projects to as large of an audience as possible!

OK, here's your chance to shamelessly self-promote; tell us all about your current publications:

I wrote a martial arts book titled, “Analyze Your Fighting,” that did rather well for awhile, but I’m currently working on updating that book. My self-published book, “Smacking the Muse…Thoughts, Stories, and Kung-Fu,” is available at Lulu.com. It’s a book of poems and stories about keeping control of what inspires us to create. It’s also layered with martial arts philosophy. I’ve been practicing martial arts for over thirty years and just as martial arts training is a process of molding the mind and body to be disciplined and focused, that’s also how the creative process needs to be most of the time. Yes, sometimes writing and other forms of art can be light, fun, and breezy, but often times it can be a battle. You have to be willing to hang in there and “smack the muse!”

Can we expect any new books published by you in the future?

Oh, yea, that’s a big YES! I’m trying to make the necessary adjustments in my life so that I can speed up the time it takes for me to finish projects, but currently, I’m in the last stages of editing my first full length novel titled, “Sisters of the Fight.” By the middle of the summer it will be ready to shop to agents and publishers. I’m also writing a screen play based on the book and I’m putting the finishing touches on another martial arts book.

I’m excited about “Sisters of the Fight,” because at its heart it’s a “girl-power” story about an unlikely group of women who take control of their “violent” sides, and by the end of book learn some important lessons and achieve something very unique. It’s an action packed book with unique elements such as something I call, “mental burn.” I believe this book would make a great movie as well!

Do you share any of your writing online? If so, where? (website, blog, and so forth)

Actually, at the moment I don’t post any regular writing online. That will change as I finish more projects.

Do you write, other than books, for compensation? If so, tell us about these ventures:

Again, nothing regular, but I’m always looking for opportunities.

What, or who, inpires your writing the most?

My biggest inspiration has probably come from Bruce Lee. He looked at martial arts as a self-discovery process. He said you don’t need to be locked into one system of martial arts and it’s okay to learn from many sources in order to become a unique expression of the art(s). That’s how I look at life. But, as I said before, I’m destined to write, so to me, preserving this “self-discovery” process as I experience it is important.

Darin, what do you like to read? Your favorite authors?

I actually don’t have “favorite” authors; I tend to read fiction based on whether or not the story interests me. For example, I just finished reading “Third Degree,” by Greg Iles, because he sets up a simple scenario and I wanted to know how he was going to fill up a whole book around the situation he put his characters in. But, I’m also reading Robert Ludlum’s book, “The Bourne Ultimatum” which is a thick story. In contrast to those two books, I’m also enjoying “The Castaways” by Elin Hilderbrand, because I feel it’s important that I read books by female authors as well. I need to understand the female perspective on things, especially on female character development for my own projects. I think I’ve done a pretty good job in “Sisters of the Fight” portraying the female characters and making them interesting.

I’m also always reading different types of nonfiction books as well; currently I’m reading “Supernormal Stimuli” and “The Nurture Assumption.”

Any tips for those of us writers not yet published?

Beyond the typical advice you hear like studying your craft, persistence, and finding your unique voice, etc., I recommend that writers always be professional and personable. As an artist you’re internally motivated by some need or force (the muse) to want to share. You have to cultivate that self-expression through other people, despite rejection and doubt (even by those closest to you). So, stay strong in your journey both emotionally and physically (take care of your health); your work is important, learn to be humble in how you persist and present yourself. It’s like what I write in “Sisters of the Fight,” – “be like a burning fuse ready and alive, but never an exploding bomb reckless and damaging.”

If there's something you'd like to tell us about yourself, or anything or anyone, please do so:

I want to thank Ruthi for giving me the opportunity to appear on her blog. We’ve communicated on line for a while now; I hope to have lunch with her some day!

I really do have a host of future projects that I’m working on including books and screen plays, and I certainly look forward to talking to and/or working with anyone who may be interested in what I’m doing. Also, please don’t hesitate to contact me for any reason at JKDMan@aol.com.

The only other thing I want to let people know about is that I’m also available to conduct martial arts seminars, lectures, and for speaking engagements.

Also, I want to say thank you to anyone who took the time to read this interview!

Kiazen!
Darin Waugh