Smith Hagaman, Author of “Off the Chart”

How long did it take you to write your book?

It only took six months because I didn’t know any better.

How much of a story do you have in mind before you start writing it?

I could only see a damaged seaplane and wonder how to utilize it.

Do you have specific techniques you use to develop the plot and stay on track?

I think the writer, E.L. Doctorow, had it right for me.“It’s like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” I follow where my mind takes me and \ then I research where I’ve gotten to.

How does your environment/upbringing color your writing?

My father was an educator, administrator and a teacher. He had a love for words. My mother had a wonderful imagination and sense of humor.

What is your goal for the book, ie: what do you want people to take with them after they finish reading the story?

I’d like them to enjoy it and at the same time have to think a little bit.

How (or when) do you decide that you are finished writing a story?

When you say to yourself, “Well, I could add this and this, but then, that is another story.”

How much of yourself is hidden in the characters in the book?

I don’t feel that about me and yet I believe there must be some autobiography in all  fiction.

What words would you like to leave the world when you are gone?

Philippians 4:8 because I do agree that the mind is a garden and what you plant is what you get. Think about the good stuff and you’ll get good stuff.

Where do you get the names for your characters?

You’ve heard the old story. Adam was naming the animals. God said, “What will you call that one?” Adam said, “Hippopotamus.” God said, “Well, you can call it anything you want to, but why Hippopotamus?” Adam looked at him puzzled, “Because it looks like a hippopotamus!” That’s how I get my names.

If your book was made into a TV series or Movie, what actors would you like to see playing your characters?

George Clooney would play the rabbi because that is exactly the rabbi’s problem. He doesn’t look, sound or act the way a rabbi should and yet he is totally devout.

What advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Decide what kind of writing fits you. I believe there are two kinds of writers, tellers and constructors. Constructors build it word by word and chapter by chapter.

Where can we learn more about your book?

From Second Wind Publishing.

Click here to read an Excerpt From “Off the Chart” by Smith Hagaman

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