BHPL: Today author Robert Daniher visits the BHPL Book Blog to talk with us about what it's like to launch a writing career. Bob, tell us about your writing. Do you have a specialty at this point?
Bob:I write primarily short stories in the mystery genre, although I've also written some poetry and a bit of non-fiction. In 2007, my short story "Deadline" was published in "The 2007 Deadly Ink Short Story Collection" published by Parsippany, N.J. mystery publisher Deadly Ink Press.
I had my second story "Ball-Point" published the following year in the 2008 Collection.
BHPL: Why mysteries and tell us some of your favorite mystery authors.
Bob: I began writing through my love to create and tell stories, and mysteries were always my favorite books to read. There are so many I could mention, but Agatha Christie and Ian Fleming were the first two authors I began reading regularly. That’s when my love of the mystery/thriller novel began. They were also wonderful short story authors as well. I also love Chandler and Hammett. Some contemporary authors I enjoy are Laura Lippmann, Joyce Carol Oats, Christa Faust, Megan Abbott and the late great Edward D. Hoch. As well as being great novelists, they have amazing talent with the short story, especially Ed Hoch who passed away in 2008. He was incredibly prolific and a true master of the short form.
BHPL: I'm assuming that as a writer starting out in your career that you have had to work at various jobs to pay the bills. Can you tell us about those experiences?
Bob: Since finishing college I've worked as a janitor, radio producer, school cafeteria worker, television broadcast technician, freelance video editor, filmmaker and a crime fiction writer.
My main career (day job) over the past 12 years has been as Master Control Operator for a cable network.
BHPL: Have any of these jobs provided ideas for stories?
Bob: All of them have provided ideas for stories. In fact, ideas come from everywhere. A conversation overheard in a coffee shop, something you witness in line at the grocery store, what you read in the newspaper, as well as what you might do for a living.
BHPL: Speaking of eavesdropping... I met you at an author book-signing at the Berkeley Heights Public Library and based on your conversation afterwards with Jeff Markowitz, the visiting author, which I couldn't help overhear, it seemed like you go to a lot of author events and belong to various professional writers' groups. Is that a helpful approach and I would guess an antidote to the solitary nature of writing?
Bob: Writing can be a very solitary occupation. But Garrison Keillor has said that writers also need to go out and be with others. Experience life so they can actually have something to write about and feel passionate about. I am currently an affiliate member of the NY chapter of Mystery Writers of America, a national organization of established and aspiring mystery writers. I also belong to a writers group that meets once a month at the Morris County Library as well as an online organization called “The Short Mystery Fiction Society”. The SMFS is free to join and a great way to learn about the business of publishing and how to market your short stories via their free Yahoo newsgroup. All of those organizations offer a wealth of information and are extremely helpful.
BHPL: OK, the dreaded "R" word. How do you deal with rejection letters from publishers which I assume are a part of every writer's life?
Bob: I've had a couple of stories published in the past few years, but this is only the beginning of a long and winding road toward further publication and establishing myself as a writer. Writing is a never ending learning process full of joys and disappointments. But the thrill of an acceptance letter greatly outweighs the many rejection slips that come before.
BHPL: So you take the long view or are essentially a "glass half-full" kind of person?
Bob: I think I am both really. The glass is always half-full because I write. And to just write in the first place is an accomplishment that should be celebrated. Published or not. But I also take a long view because I always hope to better myself and learn more about the craft. I’ve been writing as a hobby since I was in eighth grade (which was in the 80’s) but I’m still new to this thing.
BHPL: Thanks,Bob, for stopping by the BHPL Book Blog. Now that we've met you, we hope you will stop by again to tell us about what you are working on and other tales from the writer's life.
To our readers: please post any questions you have to the comments section of this post (or email or call us), and we'll send the best and most frequently asked questions on to the author to be answered here on the blog when Bob stops by next time for a blog visit. As always, click on the links in the text to find relevant websites, including the writers' organizations that Bob mentioned.