Interview with Dallas McCalister

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small mid-western town where everyone knew each other. I enjoyed school where I learned how to play music and sports. Playing the drums became a big part of my life. Spending quality time with my friends and family gave me a great deal of material to write about. At the age of thirteen, my father passed away suddenly on Christmas Eve. He was just fifty eight years old. Had a tremendous effect on my life and was a great man. He was, and still is - my hero. This traumatic event was, as I look back, the beginning of my writing career. Writing short stories about my dad and other people I was familiar with helped me get through that time of sorrow.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
Smashwords, email marketing, Facebook and other social media.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My latest book is about a simple idea that came to me during one of my workshops I was conducting in Flint, Michigan. I was away from home a lot during my early small business career. I was not spending enough quality time with my wife and family and this really began to bother me. An idea hit me like a lightning bolt during a break in that workshop. When I got home, I explained the idea to Jeanne and that simple idea changed our lives forever. It made sense once we gave it serious consideration. It gave us something to look forward to again. Not just once or twice a year, but every week. We began sharing the idea with some friends and then I started toying with the idea of writing a book about it. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did writing it.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
During my small business career, we created and published a monthly magazine during the 1990's. That took a great deal of time and effort to produce and get it out the door on time each month. I also wrote several sales and marketing guides and manuals for the home business industry. This also took a lot of time and effort, not to mention the cost involved in printing and mailing. I heard about the Ebook concept through the Internet and some social media sites. I ordered an online marketing course that explained how the author of that course created a very good income as an Ebook author. He talked about Smashwords in his course. I went to the Smashwords website and read everything Mark Coker wrote and watched all of his video tutorials. This made a lot of sense and so, now I'm an Indie author and happy to be part of the Smashwords family!
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Well, I'm just getting started with Smashwords, but I can tell you this: I have learned a lot from Mark's Ebooks and video tutorials about the Ebook Industry. It is my desire to continue to learn and grow as an Indie author. I'm glad I found out about Smashwords and hope that the books I write as an Ebook author will help a lot of people around the world to live better and become more successful. There is no doubt in my mind, that my book would still be "in the works" if I had not found out about Mark Coker and Smashwords.
What do your fans mean to you?
There has been an occasion or two where one of my friends, clients or - as you say, fans, has sent me a note or an email to say how much they enjoy my (article, letter, book) and that means more than I could ever express. I'm not after that, but when it comes, well, it just feels great!
What are you working on next?
I have another book in the works along with a How to Guide for the home business industry. I like to share ideas and concepts that work for people interested in improving their personal and financial situations. I really enjoy writing about positive things in life. Hope is a wonderful thing to have going for you. You will see more on this topic in the near future. Stay tuned.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Writing has always brought a great deal of inner peace and satisfaction to me. I do not consider myself a great writer, but I have a lot to say. I'm one of those who never seem to get writer's block. I love to get up early each morning, go through my email and check out what's going on in the world - then I write. I have a good day, all day if I get a chance to write for at least 2 hours each morning. If I think about it... writing is my best friend.
Who are your favorite authors?
I like Dan Kennedy, Michael Masterson and Brian Tracy. I'm also fond of some of the great masters such as Mark Twain and Zig Ziglar and my all time favorite, Napoleon Hill. I must say too that Mark Coker is fast becoming a favorite as well.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I have always enjoyed the early morning. Me, my dogs, a good cup of coffee and the computer along with the fresh air here on the mountain, make life very pleasant. The Bible is also one of the most inspiring books for me. I start my day and end it with verses from this masterpiece. I look forward with great anticipation and am inspired daily by the potential of how to become a better husband, father, and writer. Life is good.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I have plenty of things to do each day. The first 4-5 hours of the day is spent alone - writing and creating new material for my sales and marketing business. Answering email and of course, reading my Bible. I spend time each week with our church band, practicing new songs for the services. I also spend time with Jeanne, the most important part of my life. Occasionally I'll play some golf and of course, we take a one day vacation every week!
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I visit the online booksellers and peruse the Smashwords catalog to see what's new.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes. It was about the loss of my father and how I felt about it.
What is your writing process?
It starts with an idea. I then put an outline together and work on the title, which to me is an important key to how others will see or perceive what the book is all about and want to read the "rest of the story". Then I start to write. I try to stay on track every morning, writing the story until I reach a point where it is time to stop and review what I have written. I set a goal of writing at least 2 or more pages a day. I try to write everyday until the project is completed.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes. It was Tom Sawyer. I thought, wow... I wish I could write something like that.
How do you approach cover design?
I make a sketch of what I believe will capture that essence of what the story is about, then I get it to a professional graphics designer that can turn it into a work of art.
What do you read for pleasure?
Motivational and inspirational books of all kinds.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Tablet and Laptop
Published 2016-08-24.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

52 Vacations a Year!
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 14,050. Language: American English. Published: September 30, 2016. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success
The secret to getting more of out of life is revealed in this inspiring new book by Dallas McCalister. Uplifting, insightful and empowering, 52 Vacations a Year captures the power of hope and lifts the spirit.