Interview with Michael R Holley

Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
My first story was written for a speech that I gave in the mid 80's. I ran across this crumpled up piece of paper while researching my first book and made it one of my blogs word for word. I was pretty amazed at my insight at such a young age. Since then I have written a number of articles or op-ed's I believe they are called these days for a number of publications but none really come to mind as being something to remember. But that speech I thought that was pretty good for an uneducated boy in his twenties. Again as I stated you can read it on my blog.
What is your writing process?
Well that is still a work in progress since as of this interview I have only published one book. However I have started my second one and am now refining my processes. But with my little experience, I think you need to pretty much have the outline or content and ideas in your head. Then I recommend going into seclusion for about four days and writing the book. Do not edit do not even worry about spelling or grammar just get the words flowing onto paper. If you pay to much attention to all the markings that appear from automated spell check and auto corrections consider turning them off for this part. There will be plenty of time for all the correcting and editing later. But first you must have something on paper (word processor) to edit. If time permits print it out and go back and make notes as to your thoughts or thinking as to that topic. On the coming months after my initial writing session in seclusion I had to remember what I was thinking or what my thought process was. I have a pretty good memory, if you do not make notes before coming out of your writing environment.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
There are so many that helped get me to where I am but I will take a stab at it: Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography; Second Chance by Sydney Banks, Ronald Reagan's Autobiography; The President, The Pope and the Prime Minister; Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas. Why? That is quite simple and would be a very common theme on the almost 150 self-help or biography type books I have read. They are all about or have a common thread of someone of common beginnings doing extraordinary things, and not without bumps in the road as we all have. The exception to the above is Second Chance, it is a fiction book portraying real world problems and hope. I have also read all of Andy Andrews books that have a common theme in that they are fiction but with real world lessons that we all need. We all need a nudge or lesson in life at times if they are not readily handy then buy a book and get it from someone famous.
What do you read for pleasure?
As I stated in the last question. I read all the self-help type books that I can. I do not have as much time to read now but I still try to read at least one a month. I often need a boost, traveling to help others. Sometime the motivator or coach needs motivation or coaching. So I read others to motivate, coach and learn, this helps me and in turn helps my clients. So I am always reading to help me move to the next level and from this I get pleasure from reading.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
A book in my hand. I make notes, highlight, study the layout and font. Since I have become interested in writing and self-publishing the first page I read if the copyright page. But every book I read teaches me something, I like to take the book with me on the road and read my highlights. Now you see why it can take me a month to read a book.
Describe your desk
A big mess, as they have been most of my adult career. It stays so messy that I leave a big note in the middle of it that says "Author at Work please do not disturb my organized desk." However I do organize my bills, notes, agenda's and so on that I might find them in a hurry if needed. I also use a series of labeled note books to keep me organized. When I was running all my companies as well as other activities I had the best assistant in the world that would go thought my desk and put it in big piles when I was traveling. I so miss her organizational skills as I am again attempting to do a number of vastly different things at one time, and now there is just me not 275 employees and 1 talented assistant.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up, I am a born Floridian, in North Florida in a little town named Lynn Haven just north of the "World's Most Beautiful Beaches" and a place known today for spring break, Panama City Beach, Florida. As I state in my first book. "The Gulf of Mexico was my playground." I fished, hunted and boated from a very young age. I went to work so young my mother always thought that I missed my childhood but that is deceiving as working was my hobby as much as fishing, hunting, water skiing and what ever else I did for fun. How did where I grew up influence me you ask? It molded me into the person I became by exposing me to thousands and thousands of tourist that I learned from as much as reading the books I mentioned in a prior questions. I had millions of professors and teachers that just thought they were tourist having a good time. But they were helping mold a future entrepreneur, writer and philanthropist.
When did you first start writing?
I started the book that is being published as we complete this interview about five years ago. After loosing everything material after the 2008 financial collapse I was sent to prison for money that I did not steal. While in prison I started a journal that would become the basis for my first book. So other than the speeches and op-eds I wrote in the past my first desire to write a book about myself started in 2009 to help explain my side of what happened in the loss of a small empire and the hundreds of people that it impacted including me and my family. I always new I would write a book most of my adult life I just never had any idea the course I would take to write the one I wrote or the ones I am writing.
What's the story behind your latest book?
It is the story of a boy from humble but stable beginnings, a good family with good upbringing. That wished to run fishing and oil boats or private yachts for a living. After achieving the life long dream of becoming a ships captain at the age of nineteen only to change gears at age twenty-one and start selling cars. That would lead to a journey that the best fiction writer could not have come up with. The story of a car salesman that would go on the run and own one of the largest and most profitable Chevrolet dealerships in the United States. To acquire a number of dealerships, real-estate holding companies and the be called a true entrepreneur and philanthropist. To make business deals others said someone of now means could make. Then to loose it all, go to prison, meet and learn from people could not have never imagined. This is the story of Faith, Hope, Family and Friends and with these things all things are possible and survivable. Now to write out those experiences, speak openly of all the above, consult and coach all those that wish to be more and share the lessons learned from all the above. That is the story of this book plus much much more.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Simple I wanted complete control of the content, look, marketing and selling of my book. Plus who was going to publish the story of a convicted felon? In prison and work release I read all of Dan Poynter's books on self-publishing, I then bought updated versions of them as I started my first book. I have only wanted to be two things in life to this point. A boat captain and a car dealer, now this is as a dramatic of a change as was my change from captain to car salesman to car dealer. I am a student of the process and want to learn all I can. Make my mistakes and learn from them. In today's world anyone can be an author. I want to write for myself but more importantly help others get the book inside of them out to the world. I love public speaking, coaching and consulting, and writing and publishing seem to go hand in hand with all of this. So as I start again from nothing I now use paper and pin or keyboard and word processor to make my dreams and my living. If I happen to have the influence or knowledge to influence others that would be a blessing and an exclamation point on life. Plus so many say that it cannot be done. I love it when we can say, "They said it could not be done" so let's do it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Well I am just about to get my book out there in eBook. But I have read the blogs, stories, FAQ section of the website and they have been a major tool in my very steep learning curve. Thank you to Smashwords and to the questions from the interviewer. Great questions that have been very thought provoking for me. Thank you again and I look forward to seeing you all on the top of the best seller list. Now let's go do what they say can't be done.
Published 2014-12-07.
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