To start this off, why don't you give an idea of what the book is about?
Dee: Overtime is about four college friends reunited twenty years later and how they help each other achieve their dreams. Intertwined with their story is the story of a fictional coach of the Green Bay Packers.
The official synopsis is:
Time is running out for Dan to save the business that took his family sixty years to build. Kelly's lifework crumbles around her. Mike thinks he'll always be the guy watching the world from the sidelines. Mark dies just when his dream of playing football for the Green Bay Packers tm seemed within reach.
Then a letter lost for twenty years arrives and sends the game of life into overtime.
Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of your life?
Dee: I grew up on the coasts, West and East. I spent hours reading and wrote my first and only play in the third grade. The plot involved Indians, the Pilgrims and a feisty heroine, which of course I based on myself. Brian grew up in the Midwest, on the outskirts of Milwaukee.
What would a typical day be like for a writer?
Dee: My time is divided between marketing our current books, writing on committed projects, and thinking about new projects. Oh, and selling our screenplays to Hollywood. I dont do all of the activities every day, some days its all marketing, other days all writing. I was surprised at the amount of promotion authors have to do to make their books successful. Publishers send out review copies and thats about it.
How long have you been writing and in what capacities?
Brian: I sold my first story to a magazine while I was still in college; the magazine used it as their cover story, which was a nice thrilling way to begin a career. Since that time Ive written many newspaper and magazine articles on business topics, over 100 business plans for companies, and research papers on the venture capital industry. Then I gravitated toward writing books. Dee and I have two non-fiction books published and one novel. We have written four screenplays that are now somewhere deep within the catacombs of Hollywood, waiting to be read.
Which is more difficult to write - Fiction or nonfiction and why?
Brian-- Nonfiction is harder to write because it is difficult to sustain interest in a topic for the many months it takes to complete it, and you have to spend a considerable amount of time doing research and in obtaining interviews for the book. Usually, I am so excited about the story and characters of a fiction project that I sail right through it.
Dee: As Brian said nonfiction is more time consuming, but I dont think the actual writing isnt any more difficult than writing fiction.
Has there ever been a time when you wanted to throw in the towel and give up? And if so, how did you defeat those instincts?
Brian-- Its hard to remember. I havent felt that way in at least two days.
Dee: I hate losing, if I gave up, that would be admitting defeat. Set backs serve to motivate me. The most difficult aspect of writing has been getting an agent.
I got our first two nonfiction books sold to John Wiley & Sons, myself. Just emailed them and a day later received a request from their acquisitions editor for a proposal. I didnt know what went into a proposal so I just asked him. He very graciously told me exactly what he needed. A book proposal contains the same elements as a business plan, so once we knew that, it wasnt difficult.
Getting an agent took nearly six months. We had our choice of three agencies and went to Book Ends, LLC. They were the best fit with our personalities and understood we wanted to write both fiction and nonfiction.
What is the hardest part about being a writer?
Brian: Balancing your time among writing, marketing what you write, and learning more about the craft of writing. One seems to always dominate to the exclusion of the other two.
Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance your writing?
Gardening is our favorite hobby. Something about working in the earth frees up your creative spirit. And when your writing career isnt going well, its comforting to know you can grow your own food.
Articles and media alike make it sound as though the only way to rise to the top is to sacrifice. What do you find to be good sacrifices?
Dee-- Chickens seem to work quite well.
Brian-- This sacrifice aspect of writing is overblown. Writers in earlier days, 50 years or more ago, had to sacrifice a lot more than we do now. Modern writers should count themselves lucky! You think Edgar Allan Poe could afford health insurance?
What question do you get asked more than any other?
Brian: Question: How did you get started? Answer: Well, first we went to OfficeMax and bought lots of paper.
Dee: No, first we bought new floppy disks, then paper.
Whats the coolest thing a reader has said to you?
Brian: I expected to love this book, and it exceeded my expectations.
Dee: I framed a quote from your book and put it on my wall to inspire me.
What has been your feedback from readers? What do they say to you about their interpretations of your book?
Dee: Since Overtime is just barely out, we havent had a lot of reader feedback. Reviewers have said they got caught up in the story, and couldnt wait to find out what happened.
Do you think that as a writer you are more prone to watching what goes on around you and observing behaviors than most people are?
Brian: Absolutely. The writer is the quiet one in the back of the room at a party, not saying much, just filing away potential characters. When someone wants to be our friend, we warn them they will likely end up a character in a novel or screenplay. As a result, we have very few friends.
Dee: We have friends, in fact I think some of them are hoping to become characters.
Who are some of the authors you consider to be "don't miss"?
Dee: Interesting question. In the nonfiction book were working on now, The Bestseller, were interviewing a number of bestselling authors. Each one has something valuable to contribute.
If one were looking to start his/her own career as a writer, what would you suggest his/her first step to be?
Brian: Swear to yourself, in a solemn oath, that you will not let any negative comments from rude agents/editors/other assorted gatekeepers erode the confidence you have in your ability. Its a lot easier to criticize than it is to create.
Dee: Start writing, dont talk about the book youre going to write, or the idea you have for a great novel, just start writing.
What kind of movies do you enjoy?
Indiana Jones type adventures, classic Westerns, suspense thrillers.
What is your favorite city to visit, but one that you wouldnt want to live in?
Brian-- I love visiting any beach community (FL, CA, Mexico), and dream about moving to the beach, but somethings holding me back. Perhaps Im afraid I wont get any work done, but Ian Fleming seemed to complete quite a few novels in the Caribbean.
Dee: Venice Italy, Key West, Florida, San Francisco, New York.
I love where we live now in Fountain Hills, Arizona, its high Sonoran desert. We have a breathtaking view from our deck of the mountains, the cactus, and the rock formations.
Whats the best part of being a writer?
Brian: It allows you to constantly learn new subjects, explore new ideas. Its all the joy of discovery we had in school but without boring teachers, endless tests, or cafeteria food. I remember in High School they used to feed us something called Hunters Delight. Never figured out what was in that dish, though by senior year the local raccoon population seemed to be dwindling.
Dee: Making up stories. Being asked to autograph our books, we got coverage in our local newspaper and after that several strangers came up to us and said I saw you in the paper youre those authors.
On the fiction side, we will have a new novel, a romantic treasure hunt thriller, INSIDE THE CRESCENT MOON, finished in December. In the spring of 2004, we will be finishing a nonfiction book titled THE BESTSELLER, which is a series of interviews with bestselling authors, discussing how they made it to the top. And of course theres always a chance that
Hollywood will fall in love with one of our scripts.