Daniel Koehler


Daniel Koehler is the author of four novels, "Flyover Country" (2004), "The Sleeping Cab" (2006), "Unbankerly Behavior" (2008), and "Splitting Washington" (2010). His short pieces have appeared in The Best of Tales From the South, The Birmingham Arts Journal, New Works Review, BareBack Magazine, Inner Sins, The Rusty Nail, The Storyteller, The Harvard Bulletin, among others. Literary honors include finalist status in three international screenplay competitions and regional awards for his short stories.

Prior to his writing career, he pursued professional interests in New York City. He has written software used extensively in the financial sector. He attended Leopold-Franzens Universität in Innsbruck, Austria, and is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and Harvard.

Smashwords Interview

Q1. What prompted you to become a writer?
To quote Rocky Balboa: “Because I can’t sing or dance.”

In truth, I certainly can’t say (like I see elsewhere on such a topic) that I wrote little stories in crayon or put on neighborhood plays as a kid. I was a typical product of the late 50’s; our family ran a bakery; I went to parochial school and was interested in baseball and sports. Dad went to college but mother didn’t, so he encouraged her to read widely. There were always a lot of books around the house; my dad primarily read nonfiction but liked Hemingway, O. Henry, Spillane, and Harold Robbins. Harold Robbins was kind of my sex primer when I was ten or eleven. My mother read only fiction and was a fan of Michener, Irwin Shaw, John O’Hara, and Taylor Caldwell.

My father had a humorous story published in Boating Magazine when I was twelve and got $300 for it. That got my attention. I wrote for the high school newspaper and they let me write funny stories, which I patterned on Mad Magazine or TV skits. Then, in college as a reporter for the campus rag, I got to interview a couple of famous authors and poets—Gwendolyn Brooks and Beat Poet Alan Ginsberg. I’d never met anyone like them before, and because of them I discovered the expatriate authors of the 1920s—Hemingway; Fitzgerald; Dos Passos; Henry Miller; Anais Nin. I was immediately smitten with the literary lifestyle. I was a foreign exchange student in Austria (like John Irving) and almost didn’t come home. I graduated Notre Dame with a degree in Econ to mollify my father, but really wanted to be either a folksinger or a writer. Unfortunately, the Vietnam War nearly got me and I had to go into the Army, although it was over by the time I finished basic training.

After I got out, I had to get on with the tedious business of making a living. I moved to New York City, got married, and worked in business. The only writing I did was alumni pieces for my college bulletin. I remember “tarting up” the news about my classmates as though they were characters in some sort of noir crime novel.

Afterwards, I moved home to Little Rock, AR, to raise my family, and the writing went dormant. I collaborated with a friend from grad school on a couple of satirical pieces that never got published, but mainly was just a dad who worked for a bank, wrote software on the side, and played keyboards in a rock band on weekends.

When my bank got merged, I formed a software company and sold my prosaic little PC software to bank clients. The good thing about this was that most of the income came from annual license renewals, so once the software was written, I didn’t have to do much work. That gave me the time and income to try my hand at novels. That’s kind of where I am today; I write for pleasure and at my pace, not deadline, since I have other income. My only regret is that I never got to be an expat writer like my heroes of the 1920s.
Q2. Who were the authors you read in your youth?
At school, if you finished your work early, the nuns let you read until the bell rang. I discovered adventure and science fiction in the meager school library. The first memorable books I read were “Fleetfoot the Cave Boy” by Robert Nida; “Wild Animals I Have Known” by Ernest Thompson Seton; “The Adventures of Ulysses” by Gerald Gottlieb; “Five Against Venus” by Phillip Latham. I also read sports books by Clair Bee and Guernsey Van Riper.

One day Dad bought a junior Encyclopedia Britannica and each night I’d take a volume to bed, say A-B, and just flip through until I fell asleep.

Of course, I devoured comic books like DC Action Comics, graduated to "Mad Magazine," Forrest Ackerman’s "Famous Monsters of Filmland," and then "Classics Illustrated." Later, I got into Poe (after seeing the Vincent Price scary movie, “Tales of Terror”) and also classic horror writers like Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, and Mary Shelley.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Daniel Koehler online


The Second Derivative of Irony
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 58,820. Language: English. Published: January 4, 2012. Categories: Fiction » Anthologies » Short stories - single author
Eighteen stories about people in prisons of their own devise—childhood awakenings; coming-of-age quandaries; ironical comeuppances; criminal excesses; personal compulsions. "The Second Derivative of Irony" is a compendium of the author's "Three Stories about..." series with six additional stories to boot
Unbankerly Behavior
Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 28,780. Language: English. Published: September 3, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Literature » Plays & Screenplays, Fiction » Humor & comedy » General
Bank president Henry Potts has a sweet deal. He is looting his bank under the guise of a cost-cutting “Unbank” marketing campaign concocted by John Jimpson, his son-in-law with a roving eye for bank secretaries. Enter Clydine Clumm, a honky-tonk angel on the rebound, and all hell breaks loose.
The Sleeping Cab
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 96,010. Language: English. Published: August 2, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » Crime thriller
(5.00 from 1 review)
To FBI senior agent, JOE MAC ADAMS, the Atonement Killer is a psychopath who scrawls the word in blood across his victims' torsos, but to rookie cop, JOLENE DYKES, he is a routine vice sting gone terribly wrong. A nasty thriller about nasty people: serial killers, whores, religious cults, and the FBI.
Flyover Country
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 115,020. Language: English. Published: July 30, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Alternative history, Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00 from 1 review)
In 1962, three intersecting crimes—a patricide, a bank robbery, and a kidnapping—lead to tragedy, secret-sharing, redemption, and a May/September romance in Flyover Country.
Splitting Washington
Price: $3.99 USD. Words: 103,400. Language: English. Published: July 20, 2010. Categories: Fiction » Thriller & suspense » General
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
J.D. CROWELL, the President's campaign manager, is fired after an indiscreet dalliance with a beautiful biracial White House staffer. He soon discovers he has become a very inconvenient person for both the corrupt GOP President and the popular biracial Democratic challenger. Using every political dirty trick in the book, J.D. makes history while saving himself, his family, and his mistress.

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Smashwords book reviews by Daniel Koehler

  • Safe With Me, The Beginning on July 03, 2011

    Shaina Richmond writes great erotica with very sexy, engaging characters who are, at the same time, believable. Her male POV (Tyler) shows an understanding of the male erotic drive without being crude and priapic. Susis is outspoken about her sexuality and this turns Tyler on to the point of obsession. Shaina is a writer to be reckoned with.
  • The Lummox on April 24, 2012

    "An epic poem for our time—short and has pictures." This is a hilarious, delightful little book! Seuss-like in color and form, the charming illustrations and fabulous characters soothe us like those from our Little Golden Books of yore. Assuredly, you will thrill as you have never thrilled before to the story of a displaced beast of burden, unyoked and seeking vindication, vying for his rightful place in the environmental Pantheon. "The Lummox" should have received the Nobel Prize instead of the somnolence-inducing political animal who actually did. Aye, but what might have been has no place in Augenblecq's wonderful pastel fable. Lo, The Prize remains secure, and I expect that the real-life counterpart of Augenblecq's eponymous cartoon quadruped keeps his socialist souvenir appropriately stored away in the same mythologized lock-box wherein our Social Security trust funds also reside.