Monday, September 20, 2010
Interview with author Klarque Garrison
Today, my guest is non-fiction author, Klarque Garrison. Klarque has agreed to talk about his new book, How to survive the Next 365.
1) Tell me a little about your book and give a short synopsis. There are 12 chapters with 12 concepts or ideologies that I’ve found make up the spirit of successful people. The 12 chapters symbolize the 12 months in a year..thus we have 365 (days). Life is not supposed to be easy. We do not learn from our successes we learn from our failures. That is why I titled this book “How to Survive the Next 365”. Through surviving we develop a basic knowledge of life and through knowledge we gain wisdom. Once a person grasps wisdom he/she can control the thing that is most difficult to control…oneself! If a man/woman can learn to control their self there is nothing they can not do. There are chapters in this book that you may not have difficulty with so read it as it speaks to you. Then apply the lessons by working the exercises at the end of each chapter. Lastly, share your success with the world. Your journey for your “Next 365” days does not start with the purchase of this book. Nor does it begin once you have read this book. You will discover your journey only begins once you decide your self worth is directly linked with “The Creator” and that makes you God-like. Everyone has greatness to share with the world. I hope you can see what I already see in you…
2) What gave you the idea for this particular book? In 2007 I lost over $1 million in real estate and cash. I thought after almost 10 years in the business I was at the top of my game. I realized now I was not and that there were some key things missing. After feeling sorry for myself for a few months I devised a plan. My plan was to interview successful individuals all over the U.S. to find out how they were surviving the decline in our economy. After over 100 interviews I realized there were several key ideologies that all had in common. I immediately started applying them to my life and instantly my life (as I saw it) started turning around. I decided to write a book about the 12 principles I believed to be most significant.
3) Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time? I am absolutely a full time writer! I’ve fallen in love with writing and if I have it my way this will be all I do professionally from here on out! I’ve not only started writing my second book, (about the presidential electoral system from 1789-until now and it’s failures) I write a blog which is titled “An Obama World”. The blog primarily highlights those who are successful in their fields of business, writing, or academia during the Obama Presidential Years (Although from time to time I do allow myself to write a political or philosophical memorandum). I write the blog under my pen name “Milano Flascucci”. (for more info about the blog visit www.anobamaworld.blogspot.com). I’m what you call a “midnight writer”! After the kids are in bed and the house is still, I sit down at my desk and type away. Often times I won’t finish until 4 or 5am. During the day I’m out promoting the book or interviewing folks for my blog. I do use the daytime to jot down notes that will help in my “midnight rendezvous” with my keyboard!
4) When did you first know you wanted to be a writer? Growing up if you would have told me at 43yrs. Old I would be a writer I would have laughed. I’ve always been a voracious reader since high school, but I never thought I’d be able to put words together in a form others would want to read. I started off writing poems although I could not write them on the spot. I would have to be motivated or inspired to convert my thoughts to words on paper. During my years as a real estate investor I believed in order to be respected I should write a book on investing. I had the knowledge but never the motivation. So, several books are still incomplete on my hard drive at home. Then, one day someone heard about my interviews and suggested I write a book on my findings. I sat down at my computer that night and out of know where, inspired thoughts came! The rest is (as they say) history!
5) What do you hope readers will take from your writing? This is a tough one because each reader will see or read things that only apply to their life. However, if I had a magic wand I’d love for readers to be inspired about developing their own blue print that will take them to their next level (whatever that may be). I want them to know it’s ok to begin to believe in them and that they are not alone in their perceived failures. Hopefully, they can determine through my writing that I’m not the guru that will make their lives have meaning. Yet, I am just like them on a never ending journey to get through life! And together perhaps we can!
6) What types of writing do you prefer, and why? I love it all! Historical reading, Biographical books, inspirational/motivation reads, even Anne Rice’s~Vampire chronicles (of which I’ve read them all!). If it’s on paper…I’ll read it!
7) What is the toughest part about being a writer and how do you get past it? The toughest part for me is to remain consistent in my writing. As my mentor Natalie Goldberg wrote…"a writer writes" and a writer should write everyday! However, with life, family and those never ending ups and downs it’s a hard quest to follow. I do have my failures from time to time, but I push myself through those rough days and remind myself this is a profession not a hobby. In order to get where I am going I’ve got to be consistent! It will truly show in your work!
8) What draws you to non-fiction writing? I’m just not that great at make believe! I’m much better at recalling real life scenarios and building a bridge from one idea to another. Plus, it was the only vehicle I saw where my messages could be taken seriously and not dismissed as flighty fantasy. Although I do have at least one Fictional novel within me….LOL
9) What kind of research did you do for this type of book? As I stated in an earlier answer, I started interviewing people who I bumped into or read about in order to hear “their stories”. I figured since I had fallen so hard on my face, I must be missing a few key essential pieces. So, after interviewing my first person, I realized everyone has an amazing story to tell. It was key and fun to hear how people got to their mind-sets that would ultimately lead them to the pinnacles they reached. It was also important to hear that many had fallen from grace just as I had. The difference was they understood this to be part of their journey and not an explanation to who they were. I also read Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg, Dan Poynter and William Zinsser to understand (as much as possible to this point) how to write. These people are all giants in their own right on understand the characteristic of being a good writer. So, they became my mentors on the subject!
10) What about your book makes it special? Great Question! My book is not a “Self-Help” book! Self-help books give you a sequence of objectives to meet. If you meet them you’re a success and if you don’t you’re a failure! Many people can’t meet that expectation because there are too many variables that would never match up with the author. With “How to Survive the Next 365” your only requirement is to believe in the power of “You”! You hold the entire key to your own success. The book becomes a sort of reminder/road map that you’re going on the right course. Just as a map plays an important part of a journey you’ve never been on…so does this book on your journey to developing the right mind-set to continue on!
11) What is your marketing plan? “365” has taken on a life of its own much like a “movement”. So, we’ve decided to market “365” in a way that anyone can join the journey (there is strength in numbers). First, we are marketing the book through a grass roots approach. Step by step we are reaching as many people around the world as possible (county by county, state by state). We have a dynamic blog talk radio show titled “The Conversation”, I already mentioned the blog “an Obama world”, online social networking, a powerful newsletter, and now we’re initiating a unique “Barbershop Talk”. The purpose of “Barbershop Talk” is to reach men where they visit consistently! Our goal is to build on the 12 principles in the book through dialogue! Where else can you be guaranteed dialogue but a barbershop! The only difference we control the topics! Combine this with a National book signing tour and you have yourself a positive movement.
12) Where can people learn more about you and your work? Of course the best place would be our website (www.survivethenext365.com) or follow us via twitter (www.twitter.com/survive365). You can sign up for our newsletter via the website (just use contact page to submit your info). Our blog talk show airs bi-weekly at (www.blogtalkradio.com/survive365) or visit the blog at (www.anobamaworld.blogspot.com). For those on facebook join my fan page (D.K. Garrison fan page), Youtube at (survivethenext365) or give us a call at (866) 642-9125!
13) What are your views on self-publishing versus traditional publishing? I once went to a local book signing for a long time favorite author “Jim Lehrer”. I asked him this very same question. He replied by saying 10-20 years ago, it was darn near impossible to consistently go the self-published route. However, with all the modern technological advances in the industry and the advent of the “social networking” websites, you have a better than average chance to be successful. I love the fact that I have complete control of my book’s destiny. Of course, we all need assistance getting our message out and with these advancements we can find the collaborations which will make the difference. Put out a great looking product that is well written and readers will reward you with sales!!!
14) Do you have an agent and do you feel an agent is necessary for non-fiction? I do not have a literary agent and from what I’ve researched it’s darn near impossible to get one as a self-published author for your first book. Agents want to see a track record of success, so you’re better advised to build a product and marketing plan. And along the way if you’re lucky, you’ll attract the attention of a viable agent. With a non-fiction book you tend to be freer to find that niche where you can focus your promotions! However, if I can land one…I’ll take it!
15) Any tips for new writers hoping to write non-fiction? Just one, write what you are passionate about. Do not write with the idea of trying to just sell book! It becomes insincere and readers will burn you for it! Be true to who you are as a writer!
Klarque thank you for sharing your writing life with me. It's been a pleasure learning more about you and your work.