Interview with Duncan Bolam

What do your fans mean to you?
Anyone regarding themselves as a fan of my work here on Smashwords is also a 'connection'. As I am not yet what one might describe as a proven author, I'd have to say that if a person reads my work, I would possess a affinity towards them. After all, they've journeyed through my mind. So why not feel a connection with them. Out of that grows respect.
What are you working on next?
I have 3 manuscripts on-the-go at the moment. One is a rewrite and rebranding of my first book, 'Every Person's Path to Purpose'. Call it a new edition. Secondly, I am writing a book about my experience as a father watching my wife go through the anguish of stillbirth and the death of our first son on his due date at full term. Thirdly, I am writing a fairy story for 12 and 13 year olds on the bridge between child and adult about environmental sustainability and reading the signs that nature sends us. I also hope to partner with an actor friend to write a play.
Who are your favorite authors?
My reading tastes are eclectic and varied. I love pretty-much all of Ernest Hemingways and Arthur C Clarke's works. My friend Richard Nelson Bolles, who sadly recently passed-away recently at the age of 90, wrote the world-famous book, 'What Color Is Your Parachute?'; which is a guiding force in my own life. Hee rewrote this remarkable book from scratch every year since 1967. It is a masterwork and go-to volume for any person seeking guidance on carving-out a livelihood in the world today. I happened to understudy and train with him during his life/work planning workshop in Bend, Oregon back in 2000. It was a life-transforming and sublime experience!
I also love William Bridges' 'Jobshift' and 'You & Co' books on the transforming labour market. And a couple of my all-time favourite books would have to be 'The Hobbit' by JRR Tolkein; which I first read and has stayed etched in my mind since I was 8-years old. And last, but by no means least, I love the seminal work 'The Case for Working with Your Hands or Why Office Work is Bad for Us and Fixing Things Feels Good' by Matthew Crawford.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
We recently moved to be next to the ocean because I am a lover of the sea and swimming in it. My alarm clock goes-off at 6am most mornings if the sea hasn't beckoned me already. Next on my agenda is my lifework of helping others navigate their way through the World of Work and deciphering their occupational DNA.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I observe the world around me and have this innate striving to understand how to make it better. Since the arrival of my son Dylan in December 2016, I find myself even more preoccupied by extrapolating where humankind is now and where it might go in the future - without wrecking the planet - and the other species sharing it - along our way.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I find them through blogs and newspaper articles usually.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh yes! I well remember the first story I ever wrote because it won a prize. On my sixth birthday back in the 1960s I rode the world-famous 'Flying Scotsman' steam locomotive to and from London to my native north east England and described my journey throughout the big city of London and home again.
What is your writing process?
I dream many of my books and jump up around 3am to capture the words as they boil-over from my subconscious. Other than that it is a wrestling match to marshal my thoughts into my mobile phone's note editor before they evaporate into the ether forever!
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I was utterly enthralled by the otherworldliness of 'The Hobbit' and the detail Tolkein went into with his unique insights into a world no one had ever explored before he dreamt it up. What the book did was spark my imagination. It has never stopped running-away with me since!!
How do you approach cover design?
Book covers possess such power of the potential for a book to be bought or ignored. As such they punch way above their proportional weight. For my first book, I actually painted the cover myself and the original hangs on my wall. I hold great respect for Graphic Designers, however. And I would tend to bow to their good judgement in what captures the eye.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
1) The Hobbit because I owe so much of my day-dreaming to it.
2) 'What Color Is Your Parachute?' because it the grandfather of all career-related and personal development books.
3) 'Pushing to the Front - or Success Under Difficulties' by Orison Swett Marden because it is the Great Great Grandfather of all career-related and personal development books.
4)'The Art of War' by Sun Tzu because it teaches us so much about how to avoid war and plot a none violent route through life. But then it explains how to approach conflict should it be unavoidable.
5) 'Man's Search for Meaning', by Victor Frankl. An Auschwitz survivor who lost his entire family and his most valued manuscript in the Holocaust teaches us vital lessons in discerning what is and is not important in this life.
What do you read for pleasure?
I seek mental stimulation as I strive to remain abreast of developments in work, industry, society and the arts by reading my two favourite magazines, 'Fast Company' and 'Inc'. Apart from that, I rarely have the downtime needed to bury my head in the texts I would regard as mind-developing materials such a Descartes, Victor Hugo, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, HG Wells, Stephen Hawking, Sebastian Faulks, Stephen King, John Steinbeck, John Updike, Henry Miller...
What is your e-reading device of choice?
Sony Xperia Z3 or Samsung Galaxy Note
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
So far only word-of-mouth and blogging... I have not exactly cracked book marketing!!
Describe your desk
My desk is an Ikea standing desk which can wind up or down. Working standing-up gets my creative juices flowing. Aside to my keyboard and a raised area upon which my monitor stands, my desk surface is awash with all kinds of flotsam and jetsum with Post-it notes stuck here and their, pens and pencils lying idle, camera lenses, desk organisers that I should sack, in-and-out trays who have forgotten contents, dirty glasses, tax bills I am either hiding from or pretending aren't there and all kinds of time-critical bureaucracy and officialdom that I'd rather were elsewhere.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew-up in rural Northumberland in the North East of England, 17 miles from Newcastle-upon-Tyne in a little town called Corbridge; which straddles Hadrian's Wall. The wall the Romans built when they met the Scottish and could advance their empire's frontiers no farther. I am about as far as I could be from Corbridge and still be in the same country. I miss it with all of my soul. My childhood was about as charmed and idyllic as it is possible to have. Each day I could disappear off on adventures on the pastures running along the river known as The Halves. My country playground was perfect in every detail. I had a fabulously eccentric friend who slept in an armchair in a wooden bungalow who had inherited a fortune, never married, survived having her car squashed by train-crossing gates and rode everywhere in a horse and trap. I would wade waist-deep in the hunting hound pack as they rested in their kennels and creep up into abandoned attics in Victorian courtyards with ancient old grooms as confidantes and allies. My father, a country doctor, would take me on speeding adventures visiting Herriotesque patients in old-time sports cars smelling of leather, wood veneers and nostalgia. My childhood coarses my veins. But best of all was Mr Green my English Teacher who would feed our minds with words, spellbinding tales and a passion for words. my words today owe him my every syllable.
When did you first start writing?
At Corchester School when I was about 6-years of age.
What's the story behind your latest book?
The sea fairies leave us message on the shoreline every morning. So far we have missed their signals. When we learn to be open to their suggestions, the world will be changed forever. Will we decode their ciphers in time to save the planet?
What motivated you to become an indie author?
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
The small amount of royalties that are trickling in inspire me to try harder.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Observing, internalising, reflecting, sequencing, ordering and translating my innermost thoughts into strings of words that play the music of my ideas.
What will be my legacy?
If I could leave a body of work, not necessarily prolific, but used to inspire the works of future generations. In that their navigation of from the time they enter this world to the time they exit - and perhaps their life after that - is made all the more enjoyable for my mapping of the most helpful route in words. Then my legacy will amount to my ability to close my eyes for the last time knowing that my own journey has been worth the toil, the wrestling with my destiny and, ultimately a dogged to determination to discover the answers life offers us all. If we know where to look.
Published 2017-07-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Every Person's Path to Purpose: Everyone's Work Manifesto
Price: $4.99 USD. Words: 89,330. Language: English. Published: June 26, 2013. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success
‘Every Person’s Path to Purpose’ is an instruction manual designed to help any person seeking guidance on what to do with their life, how they might earn a living, the importance of finding work that we love, plus some techniques for identifying our career assets, how to form a career strategy and why it is important not only to the individual themselves, but to all of society around us.