Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Visiting From the Heartland - Daniel Sink

Live from America's Heartland we have another author in the interview chair.  Join me today in welcoming Daniel Sink to the blog to talk about his latest release Code Black, the tale of a paramedic who commits the unthinkable - murder.  Welcome Daniel!

DAB:  Was there a point in your life that prompted your desire to write or have you always wanted to be an author?

DS:      I always loved to write, but writing was never the macho thing to do.  My father was a state prison guard, so I grew up with tough love.  

DAB:  Where do you come up with ideas for your novels?

DS:      Some of my ideas are from life experiences.  Others I come up with while I'm spacing off.  

DAB:  What was the catalyst for this novel’s premise?

DS:      I got the idea one day at work.  Code Black is about a paramedic who makes a mistake and kills a patient.  This is one of your biggest fears as a healthcare worker.  The old saying goes, "You're not a real paramedic until you've killed somebody."  There is some truth to this, but then I thought about the consequences.  Chances are you lose your license, lose your job, and maybe go jail.  My main character has a lot to lose, so losing everything isn't an option for him.  

DAB:  Do you have a character(s) in your novel with whom you closely identify?

DS:      Most of my characters are a part of me.  I try to throw myself into a hypothetical situation and then figure out how I would get out of it.  There are some challenges though.  Writing from a woman's point of view is a challenge.  Any man that says he knows how a woman thinks is probably wrong.  

DAB:  Were there any characters you found difficult to write?

DS:      I'm working on a project right now that is challenging.  My main character is a homosexual fireman who deals with work-place discrimination, which eventually leads to a lawsuit.  Putting myself in his shoes is a real challenge.  

DAB:  Do you ever have difficulty writing from the point-of-view of a member of the opposite sex?

DS:      Yes, it reminds me of the movie As Good as it Gets.  Jack Nicholson is a romance writer and one of his fans asks him, "How is it that you get inside a woman's mind so well?"  He replies, "I think of a man, then take away reason and accountability."  I'm not sure if this is true, but it's damn funny.  

DAB:  Who is your favorite character in your novel, and why?

DS:      I'm a big fan of Bruce Thomas, the sly detective that is investigating my main character.  He's like a modern day Sherlock with an alcohol problem.  

DAB:  How long did it take for you to craft this novel?

DS:      It took me three months from start to finish, not including editing.  

DAB:  Tell us about the moment you received your first real fan correspondence.

DS:      Wait...I have fans?  It was after my first book signing here in Kansas City.  A fan said, "I just couldn't put it down!"  I asked why.  

DAB:  Tell us about a typical day in your writing world.

DS:      My three-year-old son always comes first, so most of my writing happens after my wife and son are in bed.  My creative hours are between nine pm and two am.  When I'm really deep into the story I walk around like a zombie, writing in my head.

DAB:  Do you write full-time or part-time?  If full-time, tell us about the journey to full-time.  If part-time, share with us about your “day” job.

DS:      I write part-time.  If I'm working at the fire station, I wait until my crew is in bed and stay up late writing.  That is, if I'm not called out to run any medical calls.

DAB:  What kind of research practices do you utilize for writing?

DS:      There is a ton of information on the web.  It's right there at your fingertips. I also read a lot.  That's the best research money can buy, and it only costs a few bucks in late fees from your local library.  

DAB:  How long did your novel take to put to bed?

DS:      Five months if you include editing.

DAB:  Have you ever experienced writer's block?

DS:      Not yet.  I've got about five more novels in my arsenal.

DAB:  When I write, I have particular composers and music that gets me in the mood for certain scenes and characters.  Have you ever written to music?

DS:      I haven't.  I'm easily distracted, and writing in complete silence is better for me.  

DAB:  There's the eternal debate whether to outline or not.  What is your preference?

DS:      My first novel was sitting on my mental bookshelf for about three years.  I'd sit down and write and then get lost.  I stumbled upon Randy Ingermanson's Snow Flake Method of Writing.  It helps you organize your characters and plot.  It includes outlining, which I highly recommend.  Organize your outline by chapters.  I always change the outline half-way through, but it gets me started.  

DAB:  Do you belong to a critique group?  If so, tell us a bit about it.

DS:      No critique group here.  I'm a busy person.

DAB:  How do you handle negative feedback about your novel(s)?

DS:      I suck it up and learn.  You can't please everyone, but your fans are your best teachers.  Your writing should always get better.  Even though it got good reviews, I read my first novel and cringe.  My mistakes jump out of the page and hit me in the chin.  

DAB:  Of all your novels, which one is your favorite, and why?

DS:      So far Code Black is my favorite.  Stovepipe was somewhat predictable, which was a lesson for me.  I had four possible endings and I chose the most unpredictable for Code Black.  Readers like to be shocked.  They may hate you in the end, but at least they shed a few tears first.

DAB:  Usually authors are also avid readers - what are you currently reading?

DS:      I'm currently reading the Jack Reacher series.  

DAB:  What are some things you’ve done to get the word out about your novel(s)?

DS:      Contact bloggers, Facebook, Twitter, and press releases. 

DAB:  Do you have any writing pointers for the authors in our audience?

DS:      I've heard authors say that you should try to write a thousand words every day.  I'm a big advocate for quality over quantity.  Writing should come from deep within.  Don't force it.

DAB:  Care to tell us what is next on your writing horizon?

DS:      My fans are dying for a sequel to Stovepipe.  I'm getting ready to start the outlining process for that.

DAB:  Now’s your chance – give us the final plug for your novel.

DS:      If you're interested in a dark suspense that dives into the life of a paramedic who commits murder, then read Code Black.  

Thanks for stopping by, Daniel.  Check out this recently released novel at Amazon.  

Daniel Sink was raised in Ottawa, KS, which is a small city of about 12,000 people.  He never considered himself a good student, and his grades reflected that.  He would often get bored in class and write action-adventure stories.  Daniel loved to write, but was anxious to leave his small town, so at seventeen years old he joined the Navy.  Daniel served as an Intelligence Specialist on board the USS John F Kennedy.  Two years in, his father had a disabling stroke and Daniel was discharged so he could take care of him.  Eventually, Daniel went to paramedic school and then attended the fire academy in Kansas City.  He currently works full time in Kansas City, KS.  

Working 24 hour shifts as a firefighter gave Daniel the chance to return to his writing.  He just finished his second novel, Code Black, which will be released Memorial Day 2014.

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