Hey, all my writing and reading peeps! How are we doing today? I’m just gonna pretend you said “great,” then I’m gonna say how happy I am to hear that, and then I’m gonna introduce our guest for today.
Please join me in welcoming Mr. Nic Schuck, whose first novel was just released on September 15th. It’s already garnered four 5-star reviews on Amazon, as well as eleven 5-star ratings on Goodreads! Talk about a smash hit! But, when you read about all he went through to come up with the finished product — I think you’ll agree that he deserves every one of those stars.
Now let’s sit down and chat with him!
- Everyone has a story about why they love to write. What’s yours?
I’m not sure I would necessarily say I love to write. I love to read more than I love to write and I love to create a readable story. I love the finished product, but the physical act of writing, the part of being disciplined and sitting down and doing the actual writing is tough. I like when I have a rough draft complete and then I can start to shape the story and add in the fun little details that give the story depth. So, I have a love-hate relationship with writing.
I didn’t really start taking writing seriously until I was 20 years old and I was swinging in a hammock in Costa Rica. I had been in Costa Rica for a few weeks and decided that what I wanted to do for the rest of my life was swing in a hammock and surf and never really work. So, naturally I told myself I was going to be a writer. I didn’t tell anyone else because it sounds really silly to me to tell people you’re going to be a writer when you haven’t produced anything worth reading. I started writing a story about expatriated surfers in Costa Rica and quickly realized that writing was a very difficult skill to learn on your own. I enrolled at the University of West Florida to get a degree in English to help learn the craft. I earned a BA and began teaching middle school English and had a rough draft of a novel completed in 2007. I sent it off to agents and publishers and after 30 or so rejection letters I became discouraged and didn’t write another word for about three years. But by that time, I had the itch. I knew I was going to be a writer and that was all I really wanted to do. I then enrolled in graduate school to learn more about literature and hopefully figure out what I was doing wrong in my writing (besides not writing, I understood that part). After graduating in 2012 with a MA in English, I figuratively dusted off the manuscript I had put away and began rewriting it. I went through maybe four more drafts over the next three years before I really felt like I got the story right. I started the process again of emailing agents and publishers. I think I was up to 75 or so rejections before I received and email from Barbara Terry of Waldorf Publishing saying she’d like to read more. A month later I signed a publishing contract. I had become a writer. And it only took sixteen years.
- If there’s a particular book you’re trying to market right now, will you tell us about it?
The story of the expatriated surfers became Native Moments, my debut novel. I had read many stories of writers having to write many novels before finally getting one published, but I couldn’t trash it. This was the story I wanted to write. There have been few great books I have read about surfing but most had been non-fiction. Kem Nunn had some fiction – The Dogs of Winter and Tapping the Source, which was turned into the film Point Break. And I wanted to add to that catalogue of surf fiction. I wanted to write a book that surfers will take along with them on surf trips and I think I have.
- Most authors in the market nowadays have experienced their fair share of ups and downs. Will you tell us how the positive moments make up for the negative ones?
There is only one positive moment as a writer that makes up for all the negative ones. When a reader tells you how much they enjoyed your story. I’ve never experienced a greater joy as an artist as having someone say they cared for a character you created or that they felt like you nailed the setting perfectly or to say that they laughed out loud while reading your work. To know that you did the work correctly. That all the hard work was worth it. The only moment a writer works for is having a reader connect with your work. The money, if I ever make any – I’m still new to this industry – will just be a bonus. Obviously I want to make enough as a writer to never have to work a day job and just swing in a hammock and surf, but if not, as long as I keep producing fun stories that people enjoy reading I will be happy with that, too.
- If you could say one thing to the whole world, and have each and every person hear you – what would you say? It could be about your books, or anything at all in the whole universe.
I couldn’t say what I wanted to the universe in the scope of an interview. It would take me 327 pages. That’s how long Native Moments ended up being. It’s all in there. I’m now thinking of new things to say and hopefully it won’t take me another 15 years. I’ve already got the first draft of my next book completed so I’m thinking it will come quicker this time.
- Who’s your favorite author? Are you more into modern or classic literature? What do you think of modern literature on the whole?
This is an impossible question. Hemingway was once asked something similar in an interview and he gave a good list of authors we should read. Find that list and read those writers. To add to the list, writers that came after Hemingway, I’d include Cormac McCarthy, Larry Brown, Barry Hannah, Harry Crews, Hunter S Thompson, Brad Watson, Tom Franklin and Jonathan Fink. I’m leaving out many others just because it would be nearly impossible to name them all and even if I tried I’d forget somebody. As far as nonfiction, I became a much better reader of American literature, especially Ernest Hemingway and Cormac McCarthy by reading Dr. Allen Josephs books about those authors. It’s impossible to read everything that should be read, but you have to try.
Wow, I have just got to say — I really enjoyed that interview! Nic’s story is really inspiring, and I think it carries a positive, powerful message for all writers, struggling or not. (I also really commiserate with him on that love-hate relationship with writing. Some writers might not get that — but I’m with him 100%.)
To learn more about Nic, and to check out his awesome new book, navigate the links below!