Interview with Robert K. Swisher Jr.,
Author of Conversations with
The Golf God
Questions from Author Roy Murry
CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
I started writing in 1967 when I got out of Vietnam. No, I was not an officer. I was a radio operator in the infantry. From then until now I have had about 2,579 odd jobs ranging from cowboy, mountain guide, bartender - a good one was dressing up as Uncle Sam in front of an income tax office. During all of this I have written full time - sorry to say my college career was short. I have placed 14 traditional novels ranging from historical fiction, to contemporary, to young adult. Several of these books were reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Best Sellers, Midwest Book Review and others. Two were optioned but the movie deal did not go through but, I do not write format or slot fiction. It makes the writing game harder but I write what pops into my head.
DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST STORY YOU WROTE?
It was called Ned and was published in THE LONG STORY. I also placed a lot of outdoor articles to magazines - mostly fishing. I placed over 500 poems to literary magazines and many other short stories. I no longer write short stories, articles, or poetry. The muse is gone. I am stuck on novels and relish reading rejection letters. They seem to inspire me. My first novel, THE LAND, was rejected 400 times before it found a home - it is still in print. Go figure.
WHERE YOU INSPIRED BY SOMEONE?
My high school English teacher that informed me after I told her I wanted to be a writer that my chances of being a published writer were slim and none - maybe not being able to spell, hating semi-colons, and flunking English had something to do with it. I will not divulge her name but I did send her my first published novel that received great reviews. Not nice I know but I have mellowed with age.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WRITING A BOOK?
I have a love hate relationship with my books. One day I love the process and the next I hate it, but even hating it I still hit the keys. I have worked on books for a year and then erased them. I have burnt some. The ones I like I keep. Besides the five books I have indie published I have six that keep begging me to send them out. Once a year I take a few weeks and go through the process of contacting agents and publishers. After that I don't mess with it. The story from agents and publishers has not changed - everyone should read the book ROTTON REJECTIONS - it's funny and true.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR BOOK?
I have been the head greens keeper at three golf courses around the country. Golf helped pay for a lot of stamps to send out manuscripts. I started playing when I was six years old. Now at 66 I have a 4 handicap - not from the senior tees either. I wrote CONVERSATIONS WITH THE GOLF GOD because I wanted to be serious and also funny. I had just finished a novel that left my brain dripping put of my right ear and I needed a break. GOLF GOD is slightly political with some great tips about life and golf and a lot of absurdity - bit golf is absurd - think about it. Trying to hit a round object straight with a club that is set at an angle and then getting angry when it doesn't ---- please? It is almost as bad as trying to make a living as a writer.
ARE YOU WORKING ON SOMETHING NEW?
At the moment a lady is editing a novel called HOPE - the story of a group of elderly people that learn how to fly. I recently finished a novel titled THE LONELY COWBOY. I am going over a novel I finished last year - HOW BRIDGE MCCOY LEARNED HOW TO SAY I LOVE YOU - story of a man who walks two steps forward and one backward who has fallen in love but when he tries to tell the lady he loves her all he can say is I, I, I, Lo, Lo, and then he starts to choke -something about trust in this modern world. And I am half way through a novel titled VENT- where it is going I have no idea but I am enjoying it. The six novels in my closet I am ignoring. They started complaining they didn't like the tense they are written in so I am letting them stew for a while and get over it.
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR ASPIRING WRITERS?
I taught a class at a university called THE REALITIES OF WRITING, go figure; I flunked out of college, but back to the point. ADVICE - don't listen to too much advice. I have seen books that show and don't tell. I have seen books with little punctuation and some with so much they should have been a textbook. I have seen books that use just, had, very and all that no-no stuff. I have heard a zillion times write what you know. QUESTION? If you wrote what you didn't know it would be a blank page. To write put your rear in a chair and write. They invented editors to figure out all the other stuff. JUST DO IT.
WHERE CAN PEOPLE READ YOUR WORK?
Libraries, Amazon and other sites, ordered through book stores. The 5 books I indeed I did through kindle select. It's free and they have the biggest market share and if you get lucky and a mainstream publisher wants to pick up your book all you have to do is unpublished. I will say I made a lot of mistakes when I first jumped into indie but I am learning. I have also made some good sales but that is from many years of writing - I have a mailing list. I like the indie process but one must control the promo and keep writing. My indie books have received from 5 to 2 stars - don't let bad reviews get you down - no big deal - if we were all the same we would be in a cult. I sell my indie books from $2.99 to $3.99 although I feel they should really go for about $8,000 each.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING TO ADD?
A lot of getting published is luck and hard work. Don't give up. Here is my author page, if you have any questions feel free to message me....
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-K-Swisher-Jr/296768763702474?ref=hl ....also leave a like...this face book is a funny thing. The best to all of you. Enjoy the journey - nothing in life is easy.
Oh yes, I almost forgot, if one of you will buy 85,000 copies of one of my books I will put you in my will and you can visit once a year after I have moved to the big island.