I may be mistaken, but I”m pretty sure Allen and I met on Twitter, probably in some way that involved mutual friends and my newly acquired (husband-driven) interest in NASCAR. He’s a kind man, and I think you’ll enjoy his interview. PLUS, the e-book version of book Shaken Awake will be FREE on Amazon tomorrow in honor of his birthday, so grab a copy
1. Tell me about your latest project.
My latest project is Shaken Awake, the story of a church in downtown Atlanta, Georgia faced with a dwindling and aging congregation that has been forced to shut down the majority of their building and dismissed much of its staff. With limited funds, they shutter all of their ministries and programs leaving only a couple adult Sunday School classes and a Sunday morning worship service. When a homeless man freezes to death on the steps of their sanctuary, the church begins to re-examine their mission and priorities.
2. What role, if any, did books, writing, and reading play in your childhood?
As a child, I spent my summers peddling my bike to the local library and participating in the summer reading program. I averaged a good 12-15 books during summer breaks.
3. What is your writing practice, your writing routine?
Life has been pretty hectic over the last 4 years working a full-time day job and managing a non-profit in my off hours. This schedule has made it hard to set a schedule for writing. I do a lot of my writing late at night after everyone has headed to bed and the house is quiet. During my day as thoughts come to mind, I will jot notes using my smartphone, and then later I can flesh those ideas out when I have time.
4. Who are you reading now?
I just finished reading two of Mark Batterson’s books, and I just started reading Billy Coffey’s newest work.
5. What are three of your all-time favorite books? Why do you love those?
I fell in love with Frank Herbert’s Dune Trilogy about half way through the first book. His writing painted vivid images in my imagination, and I could leave my surroundings and immerse myself in the story.
Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail is definitely a favorite. I have always loved hiking and Bryson makes you feel like you are right there on the trail.
Larry McMurtry’s Texasville is one I can go back to time and time again when I want a good laugh. Having grown up in a small town, I can relate to the characters and their flaws. And who cannot love a book that opens with the main character sitting in a hot tub shooting holes in a two-story dog house?
6. How do you balance “building a writing platform” and the actual writing to set on that platform?
I do not know that I have struck a balance. I have always put more emphasis on the writing than the platform. At some point you wake up and realize you need an audience, and I guess I am now working the other side of the set of scales.
7. What is a typical day like for you?
I am up around 6:30, on the road by 7, and arrive at work around 7:30. I am back on the road home around 5 and roll up at the house around 5:30. After dinner, I catch up on social media, watch a little TV and/or do some reading. My wife and our two dogs typically head to bed around 9:30 and that’s when I focus on writing or working on projects for the two nonprofits I support.
8. Describe your dream writing space?
Two years ago we hiked up to the Lenn Foote Hike Inn the day after Thanksgiving. We literally spent two days sitting in their Sunrise Room in front of a pot belly stove sipping coffee and reading while enjoying the view of North Georgia Mountains. I often think that would be an awesome environment to sit and write daily.
9. What is the hardest writing critique you ever received? How did you respond?
Several years ago, I wrote a strongly opinionated piece for Insider Racing News. A couple of my motorsports colleagues took exception to the piece and invited me to discuss it on their Sirius Radio show. I accepted, defended my opinion, shot down their attempts to discredit my opinion, and gave them several points to consider from my perspective. I closed the conversation reminding them that they both had written pieces that I thought were off the mark and that opinion pieces are not about who is right and who is wrong but different perspectives on a given topic.
10. What is the best wisdom you have to share with other writers?
Stop saying you are going to write 500 words and have someone read it and tell you if it is any good. Write. Just write. Then write some more. Do not sit around wasting a great deal of time trying to decide your writing voice. Just start writing. You will find your writing voice by simply writing. Everyone loves to hear a good story, and we all have hundreds trapped inside us waiting to be told, so sit down and write them – short or long.
Allen Madding is a follower of The Way, writer, blogger, guitar player, Harley Davidson motorcycle rider, hiker, traveler, Atlanta Braves and Dallas Cowboys fan, and an information technology professional who lives with his wife Allison in St. Petersburg, Florida. He volunteers with Feed St. Pete, a food pantry providing food to struggling families in Pinellas County, Florida. You can find more about his work on his website and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.