The idea for the crime story came from my fascination of someone doing something amazing in the moment, and then having to deal with the immediate and unexpected results of newfound fame.
David Abare – 4 January 2018
The Back Flap
A man saves a little girl, and as his world changes overnight, he hopes he can save himself.
Stephen Alexander shouldn’t have been there that day. He lives in her apartment yet spent the afternoon at the motel with another. Hours later he hears a girl scream, bravely intervenes, and then his world goes dark. Now millions want to know who he is-thinking he’s one man-while he’s sure he’s another.
The Swing Over the Ocean is a story about love amidst dysfunction, fear, and coming to understand what it means to forgive. It’s also a story about the bravery in the willingness to change, despite the comfort in remaining the same.
About the book
What is the book about?
The Swing Over the Ocean is the story of a man, Stephen Alexander, who saves a little girl in a random event, and by taking this brave action, it results in him being attacked and put into a coma. While he’s unconscious, his initial act results in something incredible that has the whole country adoring him and wanting to know more about this man. However, because of some of his past actions and behaviors, he’s fearful of what the world may discover about him. The Swing Over the Ocean is a story about love amidst dysfunction, fear, and coming to understand what it means to forgive. It’s also a story about the bravery in the willingness to change, despite the comfort in remaining the same.
When did you start writing the book?
Maybe 20% of the book comes from a previous story I never finished, but primary writing began on January 2nd 2017.
How long did it take you to write it?
I finished writing the first draft in early June of 2017, then begin the rewriting process. I completed work sometime in August 2017.
Where did you get the idea from?
As many first novels often are, some of the story is semi-autobiographical – primarily the tales of the family – though even those are exaggerated and fictionalized somewhat. The idea for the crime story came from my fascination of someone doing something amazing in the moment, and then having to deal with the immediate and unexpected results of newfound fame.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
It was a very personal journey writing this book, as the loss of my father in 2012 was rather sudden and intensely painful and there were other issues related to my family that I hadn’t fully addressed in years. There were times I had to step away from book and regroup, emotionally, but in terms of story ideas and/or dialogue, the words flowed well without interruption.
What came easily?
The primary concept, the dialogue and the descriptive elements were fairly easy to craft.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
These are fictitious characters, some loosely based on folks close to me, while the primary character is definitely highly influenced by my own personality.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
In the last 10 years or so, I think the book that inspired/moved me the most was The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. I loved the narrative he created through the dog telling the story, and his development of the story and emotion was so natural and never felt contrived. Certainly one of my favorite books ever.
Do you have a target reader?
I would say in terms of age range for this book, maybe 27-60, folks that enjoy dramatic stories of dysfunction and romance, coupled with a little mystery.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
When I have a new project I’m working on I make sure I write every day, even if it’s just for a half hour. I turn off all electronics, tune out of all distractions and just let myself be absorbed by the material. When I take breaks I usually try to avoid social media or television but instead go for a quick run or something physical.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I work from a loose outline, but I don’t completely flesh out every character or detail as I like to let the work evolve as I move forward. Depending on the complexity of what I’m writing, I may sketch out some loose ideas for each chapter, however.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
After I have finished a particularly involved chapter, with lots of dialogue or descriptive elements, I may go back and do some editing/rewriting, though I prefer to do this in larger chunks like every 4 chapters or so.
Did you hire a professional editor?
I did hire one, from Upwork, and I was very happy with her work and plan to use her going forward. She was not only excellent at finding the grammar and punctuation issues I needed addressed, but also had a few content/chronology items she pointed out that when fixed made the story more cohesive.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
I sometimes listen to mellow electronic music, say Tangerine Dream, etc., but never anything with lyrics as it tends to pull me into that world instead of leave me in the one I’m creating.
Did you submit your work to Agents?
I did submit my debut novel to several agents and a few publishers. Received several personalized rejections from some agents and eventually had a helpful discussion with one. Because this book was very personal, as well as my first, I wasn’t too concerned with getting “signed” or having the book published traditionally.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
I had a pleasant discussion with a Literary Agent who gave me some wonderful insight into the marketplace as whole and what I could expect were she (or any Agent) sign me as a new writer. I researched the self-publishing world deeply as well and, after weighing all my options, decided to form my own publishing company and put the work out into the world that way vs. continue to look for an agent. Going forward, as my books will be less personal to my life, etc., I will attempt to align myself with professional representation though I have enjoyed the self-publishing experience, and learned a great deal from it.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
I had a friend do the cover for me, based on a concept I had, as well as another friend complete a hand drawn sketch for the inside cover.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
I come from a sales background so I am “selling” my book anywhere and everywhere that will have me! I am submitting to book blogs, promotional sites, local book stores, hosting local author events, doing social media ads, etc.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
If you’ve experienced a nagging inside for years to tell a story, write poetry, create characters or whatever it may be – do it. Don’t let fear, lack of time or insecurity hold you back as the only way you’re ever going to improve as a writer is to start being a writer. Also, hire a professional editor no matter how good you think your grammar/punctuation is, it’s the best investment you will ever make!
Where did you grow up?
I, along with my mom and younger brother, moved around the CT area a lot as a child but we settled in Suffield, CT in the mid-eighties and I lived most of my teen years and beyond there or close by.
Where do you live now?
In the same area, with no plans to leave anytime soon.
What would you like readers to know about you?
I love writing, and I think I have a little talent in that area, though I know I have miles and miles to travel before I ever become a “great” writer. What I’m most excited about, however, is the journey along that road as I grow and improve. I hope that if this books nets me any fans at all, they join me for that ride and can share in the evolution. The idea that anyone would take the time it requires to absorb themselves in a book that I’ve written is incredibly humbling, and I hope someday I’m able to create something that truly moves or inspires them, or at least makes them feel something, which is probably the greatest compliment a writer can receive.
End of Interview: