Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
A life-long Iowan, I'm a 51-year-old divorced father of two grown children who are out on their own. My real job is that of a consultant for an accounting software company. I self-published my only book in March of 2018.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Racing With "The Doctor": Recollections from a Member of Jerry Crabb's Sprint Car Pit Crew. I was an avid sprint car fan for six years until fate intervened in 1991, when I found myself, with zero experience, helping on a sprint car pit crew. Racing is often a family activity passed down from generation to generation, but not in my case. Since it was all interesting and new and shiny to me, I sometimes made notes of things that happened as a way to keep memories from fading. After Jerry retired in 2006 I tried to compile my notes in a book-like format – and then it sat on my computer for 10 years. But I believe it was always in the back of my mind, became an itch I had to scratch, and kept nagging at me and wouldn't shut up until I did something about it. I came upon it again in 2017, continued working on it, and self-published in March of 2018.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
If I do, I'm not sure I'd realize it. I do know that while writing this book, if there was a thought, idea, or change I wanted to make, I'd become a bit obsessive – including writing late on Christmas Eve and early Christmas morning. I'm pretty sure I rewrote every sentence a minimum of five times.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I'm a big fan of non-fiction. I believe everyone has a story to tell, and inspiration can be found in many of them. I'm particularly interested in military stories, especially from the boots-on-the-ground perspective. But the one that probably influenced my writing the most was Paul Shirley's book about his basketball career, titled, Can I Keep My Jersey? He was honest, often the flawed narrator, and hilarious.
What are you working on now?
At the moment my third-ever interview, for My Book Place. I can assure you I have not rewritten these sentences five times. In all honesty I don't have anything planned at the moment, but I'd never say, "Never."
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
I wish I had one. I suppose this is my start. I was so absorbed in itching the scratch of writing the book, I didn't think about anything beyond. I guess I hoped for word-of-mouth, which, frankly, has kind of sucked in my case. This also explains why I have no website, Facebook fan page, etc. But I am now doing some research on promotion, and came across My Book Place.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
If you're in a real-life situation and you have the thought that it would make a good book someday, do yourself a favor and keep a journal. You'll thank yourself for it later. And, be honest in your writing. Also, life is short. You don't know what tomorrow will bring. What are you waiting for?
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Before my high school wrestling matches my dad would always say, "Just do your best." While that may sound simple and cliche, when you think about it, it really is more complex. If you complete a task and you did your best, sometimes you meet or exceed your goal, sometimes you fall short. But if you ask yourself, "Did I do my best?" and the answer is, "Yes," you really shouldn't have any regrets.
What are you reading now?
I recently finished Smokey Yunick's book, Best Damn Garage in Town. I also recently read Chuck Long: Destined for Greatness, and The Coffin Corner Boys. I'm currently reading All the Way to Berlin: A Paratrooper at War in Europe.
What’s next for you as a writer?
Right now I'm just trying to figure out ways to promote my book. It's new, awkward, and uncomfortable for me. But I have a lot of experience with jumping into situations where I have zero experience.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Uh, that's impossible. Here's my top five in no particular order:
A Season on the Mat
Four Days to Glory
Can I Keep My Jersey?
Life's Tough on the Circuit
Author Websites and Profiles
Todd Thomas Amazon Profile